I am pretty sure most of my audience reading this are individuals who are socially aware, active on social media and agree that charity is a noble cause and that no child in the world should go to bed on a hungry stomach, no chemically induced products should be tested on animals, no one should die in the hospital due to lack of funds. Everyone knows that to change the current situation of people in areas deprived of resources we require funds i.e. money and amongst us there are many who believe that they could be a part of the process of generating this money by promoting “1 like = 1 prayer” and “a dollar donated for every like posts on Instagram and Facebook”.
I understand that these posts fit within the community standards set by social networks and feature a positive message, an aggressive call to action and an emotionally loaded picture from google. Sadly, thinking that your like helped feed a child’s stomach in Yemen is miles and fields far from the truth.
I know seeing a photograph of a child with all sorts of tubes fixed in the nose and the mouth or videos of volunteers removing straws stuck in turtles nostrils makes everyone go weak in the knee and it is completely unfortunate but a “like“will not save them, there are other things you could do, like donate to children’s hospitals, and stop using straws!
Your job is not done by liking it, moreover, you did nothing by liking that post so let’s move to the expose of this chain system used to lure users into thinking that they actually helped donate.
THE SAD PART…
Most of the information stated in the posts like the diseases mentioned, the age of people or even their status and needs are often misleading and not true. These photos do nothing to raise money for those in need. It is a fact that Facebook, Instagram and other social media networks promote posts on how much engagement they receive from users and that actually gets the uploader a part of the revenue earned by the networks, as by liking or sharing that image users remain longer on the site and facebook/ Instagram earns money from it out of which a certain amount goes to the uploader of the image. In the last 2 years, social media has become a full-time business for various people like, in fact, earns a decent amount of money, that’s a truth that the image may earn some sort of money, but here’s why I call it a hoax,
While the facebook gives out money for most liked or desirable content, it is not in the money advertised, 1 like does not get the uploader 1 dollar or even 1 rupee, you need to have a certain hundreds or even thousands of likes and shares to earn the amount which has been stated to donate for a single like. Though this is a full time earning source the rates per post are extremely low so if a post suggests donating that much, the uploader will have to shell out money from his/ her own pocket.
The posts often have a small description as to why the funds are needed, an image of the person in need in a vulnerable position and the slogan 1like =1donation, but nothing about who will donate. Precisely, “we will donate” is not the answer because “we” is not actually an accountable person. Hence nobody can actually question theses alleged donations as there is no donee and doner mentioned. It is a win-win situation for the person who has uploaded this image as he is obviously projected as a good person and also earning him revenue which totally depends on him whether to donate or keep to himself.
These posts are extremely had to map. They are often screenshots taken from different pages and uploaded as original content, hence the actual number of shares that the image has received remains a mystery for like. It creates streams of income for multiple uploaders unlike making a huge pool of money to be donated as the users think. These small streams lead to nowhere as the income which every uploader receives is not based on per post let alone each like. The income is monthly or amount based and the earning from one post is certainly not possible to be calculated.
The happy part.
Social media is this giant was of awareness and knowledge if you see it that way, a lot of people actually use it to raise awareness about various donation programmes, initiatives and charity events that genuinely create a huge pool of money to be donated.
Here are some better examples of corporate brands doing the responsible citizen thing. Like Adidas donating money for every shoe purchased, they, in fact, made a collection of shoes made from recyclable waste from our oceans for this purpose, which is a similar campaign to that of Tom’s, where the company donates a shoe for every shoe purchased. On its Facebook page Avon motivates fans to open a dialogue about breast cancer and also helps connect people across oceans by sharing experiences.
How do you spot authentic initiatives?
There is no sure shot way to identify which post is a hoax and which one is genuine, also clearly I’m no expert. However, I can share some of my findings and suggestions as to how we can stop falling prey to such schemes.
- Spot for a name: Posts that identify as certain organisations initiatives have a higher possibility of being genuine,
- Clear instructions: Genuine posts have a clear set of instructions to follow if you want your actions to result in the donation. Like the above posts which tell you exactly from where the funds are coming in combined with your support. So you know exactly from where the money is coming in and what you need to do to amplify it.
- Campaign details: To create a specific destination for all the help there is a name or a slogan attached to the activity, which makes them easily identifiable.
As I said these may not be the clearest-cut pathways to spot the genuine posts but even if you make a mistake once or twice you have nothing to lose. My only point is that,
Amongst the validation and generous boost of self-esteem this may provide you don’t forget what really matters and what will really help, everyone who can’t help themselves.