Status4Syria: Donate your status message to a Free Syria
Status4Syria is a new app created by Syrian activists which allows supporters to "donate" their Facebook and Twitter status' to spreading the word about the Syrian people's struggle for freedom. While the activists behind the application do not provide information about who they are, they do a good job of explaining how the app works and how you can remove it.
To use the app visit status4syria.com where you can add your Facebook and/or Twitter. By allowing this app access to your social networks you are allowing them to send updates for you. So periodically the app will send out a new status update and it will be posted as your status. We signed up yesterday with @aym and a few hours later this update came through our Twitter:
- If you donate your Facebook status, we (the creators of this application) will post updates, news, actions, and other important support for the Syrian Revolution through your Facebook status.
- If you donate your Twitter, we will tweet using your account when we have important updates, just like for Facebook.
- If you donate both, we’ll use both accounts to help the Syrian people (and we’ll really love you for it.)
They also allow you to sugest status updates and then users can vote them up and down:
This app is an excellent example of activists using established marketing techniques to further their cause. Brands use custom apps to market products- why shouldn't activists do the same?
It is important to address the safety and security risks of using this app: it be dangerous for people who donate their status to this cause. As we recently wrote in our review of MobileActives guide for using Facebook on Mobile the guiding principle when using Facebook for activism is "ONLY USE FACEBOOK FOR THINGS THAT ARE PUBLIC". This applies not only to things you write on the wall of an event or group but when using apps as well. Its commonly known that app developers can access users information for many different purposes. Thats why when you download a Facebook app you have to agree to the terms which often state that the app has privileges to your information. We can imagine a situation where the Syrian government would hack in to get users information OR simply search on Facebook for people who's status updates are "pro-opposition". People should not use this app if they think they could be in danger either because of where they live or because of their affiliations.
That being said- we think this app is an excellent and creative way of taking the campaign for Syrian freedom to the next level. We are anxious to see if other activists will pick up on this idea and create apps for their causes as well.