If you've been on Facebook at anytime in the last few years, you've undoubtedly seen those heartbreaking photos of a nameless person who survived cancer, or an animal that made it through a fire, a tornado, or some disastrous event, followed by a caption that says something like "she beat (INSERT cancer, fire, whatever), 1 like equals one hug."
Sadly, people fall for the bait, and that photo really ends up getting hundreds of thousands of likes. Take this photo for example.
It's a picture of Serefina Murphy, the daughter of Illinois father, Sean Murphy. His wife took the picture of her after the then 22-month-old had just undergone a successful open-heart surgery last year. Sean, being proud and inspired by his daughter, took to Reddit to share the “incredibly powerful picture," and it went viral, quickly. (Though, in hindsight, Reddit isn't somewhere you should share photos you might want to keep within a small community.)
Just last week, Sean signed on to his Facebook and saw the photo of his daughter being used on the Facebook page, Starteens, as a part of their “Social Content Farming" scheme. Social Content Farming does exactly what I described above—the posting of a picture that will generate an emotional response from a Facebook user that will get them to 'like' and share the picture, and, in turn, it creates ad revenue for the Facebook page. It's a sick way of making money from other people's pictures, but Facebook users constantly 'like' and share these pictures even though they have no name or source tagged along with them, and for the most part, they don't even know if the photos are real. (Also, no matter what your privacy settings are, don't think anything you post really is private.) The picture of Serefina had already gotten 4.3 million likes and 61,000 shares by the time Sean saw it.
Considering how angry any of us would have been after discovering a photo of our daughter being used by a Facebook page in this way, Sean took a step back at simply posted a comment on the picture. "I quickly posted a comment saying, 'I'm Serafina's father,'" Sean said. "If this picture touches you and you want to do something more than just like it, you can give back to the hospital that helped save her life."
Before that comment, Sean had raised only a few hundred dollars for Lurie’s Children Hospital. He has since raised close to $4,000.
Sometimes when you're in a bad situation, you can still turn it in your favor. If you'd like to donate to his cause, go here.