Anti-Social Media: "Take This Lollipop" Is Your Facebook Profile Through A Psychopath's Eyes

A creepy interactive video demonstrates the downside of Facebook using... Facebook. It also demonstrates the potential of socially enabled interactivity.

The stock characters in most horror movies usually spend 88 minutes or so trying to evade a deranged killer, to varying levels of success. Staying alive in such films would prove a lot more difficult, though, if each character’s personal information were as readily available as the average Facebook user’s--and if the deranged killer had Wi-Fi.

Takethislollipop.com is an interactive online experience that brings viewers into the narrative via their Facebook profiles. Released conveniently close to Halloween, this single-serving site makes the idea of “Facebook-stalking” eerily literal.

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Three other smart, interactive uses of your social media data. 

1// Mirror
The interactive video from director Masashi Kawamura for Japanese band Sour harvests webcam and social media data to integrate viewer and brand.

2// /The Wilderness Downtown
The most acclaimed bit of social interaction yet, Wilderness Downtown uses Google Maps and HTML5 to create an emotional, immersive video experience for the band Arcade Fire's "We Used To Wait." 

3// Swedish Public Television
A campaign for the channel makes you, the viewer, a hero in an interactive video that salutes Swedes who pay their public broadcasting fee.

By integrating a highly topical modern fear into tried-and-true horror movie tropes, and adding a personal twist, the creators of Takethislollipop.com have tapped into something spooky that’s bound to hit a nerve. Although Halloween is still two weeks away, it’s doubtful that anyone concerned with privacy in the digital era will see anything more frightening before then.

After allowing the site access to your profile, users click on a blue lollipop which thrusts them into the familiar mise en scene of a horror movie. The camera floats languidly down a dank hallway to the static-punctured strains of a 1950s song about candy shops. In a room at the end of the hall, there’s a man in a sooty undershirt hunched over a computer. He looks like a malnourished Daniel Craig, and he doesn’t seem happy at all.

As the mystery man’s dirty fingernails pound against the keys, it becomes clear what’s on the screen: a Facebook profile. Not just any profile, though; it’s the viewer’s very own. The interactivity is seamless; the stalker’s reflection is clearly visible, glaring off the pictures on the screen. As the creepy erstwhile James Bond scrolls along, becoming increasingly agitated with what he sees, users will recognize their old status updates and messages from friends.

The next reveal arrives with shrieking keyboard stabs--the stalker has found the user’s location and is now looking at driving instructions. Slowly he reaches up and starts caressing the profile picture displayed onscreen. As the soundtrack swells ever higher, he turns his head to face the viewer and a fiendish smile spreads across his face.

The stalker is suddenly inside a car, racing down the road. Hyper jump cuts show his tortured screams behind the wheel before cutting back to his intensely focused driving face. The project was directed by Jason Zada out of production company Tool of North America.

The project isn't the first social media-connected campaign that makes viewers a part of the story (see sidebar). And the horror execution here may be a little predictable. But the format itself is a great showcase for the potential of socially enabled, seamlessly interactive video as genre entertainment. Here it’s horror, but the device would work in another context and genre. Of course, if this is meant to be a public service message about privacy, it may be a little counterproductive--the video does nothing so much as demonstrate the entertaining upside of making your life an open book.

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5 Comments

  • Steve Cichosz

    This interactive concept is really clever. The end user profile is gold to companies. (That's a big part of the contests and other company interaction accessible only through facebook) So by making the end user profile a participant in the "movie," TakeThisLollipop.com is pulling in all that gold as an inherent part of it's service. They are essentially harvesting the facebook crop. And all of this neatly hidden under the auspices of an underlying theme of scaring people into being more concerned about privacy. Impressive.

  • Victor Stanescu

    Ah I loved this! and I totally agree. With Facebook you give away your privacy to be sold or used by who knows! All you can do about it, is trust them, trust Facebook, as they are soooo trust worthy. This is their latest fail:  http://www.vectorash.ro/facebo... 

    How could you ever leave your data with these guys?! 

  • taz delaney

    this struck a chord with me...  2 years ago, having not registered, began to get notices from linkedin. there, found someone had created my profile to look like a terrorist! i complained and would've left it but wife advised i stay; so i changed the profile.

    a month ago, for the first time, being more than a little overwhelmed on several fronts... decided to seek some good, that is to say NOT SPYCHIATRIC therapy. i contacted one in our neighborhood via her supposedly secure internal servier. then the day after i saw her, GET A NOTICE FROM LINKEDIN THAT I KNOW HER! well, frankly, i did not want the whole world to know i have been to see a therapist. it is none of the world's beeswax. and it decidedly brlke patient-doctor confidentiality!

    so i called to angrily complain and they denied, denied, denied any liability or responsibility, saying i had GIVEN THEM FREE USE OF MY ADDRESSBOOK, which i have never don with anyone! and when i told them that and that, also, i had not entered the doctor's email address in my email addressbook... the PR person hung up on me. when i called back, i was bluntly told that the only persons i could communicate with at linkedin henceforth would be legal!

    then, shockingly, somehow, linkedin apparently hacked diswqus which i've used for some time to make comments social or political... and started spamming all those with whom i'd corresponded therein notices to join my linkedin network, calling me disqus delaney'! and they deny this, too.

    so despite the fact that we are having to sue the NYPD over my being beaten half to death after calling 911 for help and that same mountainous policewoman then coming back in the middle of the night to sexually harass my wife... and another suit against our gangster landlord fr major medical bills and such due this buildings massive contamination with black mold & mildew which caused my last 4 years of asthma-allergies that have put me at death's door many times... i now have no ethical choice but to also sue linkedin over this outrage.

    strange da¥s have found us...