Why you SHOULDN’T “type Amen and share” posts of sick children

If you’ve been on Facebook at all, you’ve probably seen those pleading posts, featuring a very sick child or a suffering animal. Often the posts also show a picture of Jesus, with a request for the viewer to take action.

“Type Amen for this baby and share,” the post commands. “Keep scrolling if you’re heartless.”

Pretty soon, sometimes even in the course of hours or a few days, that Facebook post can be seen on the walls and news feeds of thousands of presumably well-meaning people.

But as in the case of a baby photo of Brenna that was used in a post like this in mid-December, which had been shared more than 23,000 times in a few weeks, we didn’t know it was being used until some of our Facebook followers alerted us, and we definitely did not give permission.

When it comes to posts like this, one share does NOT equal one prayer. One like does NOT mean you think the baby with a physical disability or difference is “still cute.” One comment does NOT mean the sick child or abused puppy “will be saved.”

Here’s what you’re actually doing when you type Amen or share the photo on your wall:

  1. You’re exploiting what is most likely a stolen image of a child whose family has no idea it is being used.
  2. You’re making the owners of the page that posted it or the twisted people who stole the photo and created the post a whole lot of money.

Brennafbposts
Why do people steal and use images of sick babies or suffering creatures without permission? Typically, because of scams like this, as detailed in this article by Consumer Affairs:

Since Facebook’s algorithms place a high value on popularity (as measured by likes and shares), these highly liked and shared pages therefore have a much higher chance of appearing in people’s “Feeds” and being seen by other Facebook users. Then, once the page has a sufficiently high popularity rating, the like-farmer either removes the page’s original content and replaces it with something else (usually malware or scam advertising); leaves the page as is and uses it as a platform for continued like-farming in order to spread malware, collect people’s marketing information or engage in other harmful activities; or outright sells the highly liked site to cybercriminals in a black market web forum.

When you engage with posts like this, you make them popular. When they’re popular, the owner of the page can then sell it.

Unfortunately, children with ichthyosis are often the subject of many of these posts, because the condition is so physically noticeable and can often be shocking to people who haven’t seen it before. Brenna’s photo and the photos of many others in our ichthyosis community have been stolen and used for posts like these. I’m grateful that it hasn’t happened to our family very often, but it shouldn’t happen at all, and it is a common recurrence among the many families we know whose children have ichthyosis.

When you don’t want to be “heartless,” so you respond to the request for “One Share = One Prayer” by sharing the image with your friends, you’re actually doing very real harm. Please think twice before you like, comment or share any posts like this on Facebook, so that you’re not participating in the exploitation of children like Brenna…

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147 thoughts on “Why you SHOULDN’T “type Amen and share” posts of sick children

  • January 7, 2016 at 6:17 am
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    Thank you for putting some common sense light onto those horrific exploitative posts!

    • January 18, 2016 at 8:51 pm
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      Thank you for the info. I would never want to cause hurt or pain to anyone

      • January 19, 2016 at 8:48 pm
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        By saying “scroll through if heartless” I consider this a form of bullying. No one is going to tell me I am heartless if I scroll through without typing amen. They don’t know what is in my heart.

        • January 22, 2016 at 9:19 am
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          I’ve said this too, and have been bullied for saying it! Mainly by Christians, who’ve called me nasty and disgusting names!

          • January 28, 2016 at 10:48 am
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            I would like to apologize for those who have called themselves Christian and called you nasty names. No true flower of Jesus would ever do such a thing. Please do not equate their actions with what a true Christian is.
            I despise these posts, myself. They are manipulative and judgmental and exploitative. It galls me to have someone pretend to cast judgment on someone else for something as insignificant as scrolling past a post on FB. JESUS said, “Judge not, lest you be judged according to the same measure.”

          • January 30, 2016 at 11:53 am
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            Christians have flues, because they can’t possibly be anything close to the glory that is Jesus, and that terrifies them, causing them to call you things, which are merely a reflection of their own fear and insecurities. So see yourself as a mirror, and any insult, name calling or compliment are really just the person giving it, reflecting to themselves through you, the beautiful mirror. But Jesus would only love on you, thinking you are a rock star and the best bragging right He has ever created and blessed. And I think it’s good you put out that post, unfortunately it is very true. But those people are just failing to be in the fullness of the amazing Christ, who loves you and thinks you’re perfect, regardless of your financial stress, ocasional self doubt or even you journey to fulfill your dream, but you are perfect. No person can take that away from you.

          • February 8, 2016 at 1:04 pm
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            I agree, and I am a Christian. I think some are just clueless about the real world. They think they are helping the child n some way. They just don’t realize who they are really helping and it’s not the child. I am glad this article came up. Maybe those who post such things will not get as much money for their viral posts.

            Tim’s post of an apology below, I agree totally with him. I have seen many fakers out there who blast others with ugliness in the name of Jesus. That is not how it works. Apologies to all who have been ridiculed for not sharing such things. My opinion, is He wouldn’t want us helping criminals make money off the helpless like this.

          • February 12, 2016 at 10:58 am
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            I am very sorry this has happened to you. Or to anyone it definitely not a Christian response.
            May God bless you for your true heart

          • February 15, 2016 at 4:13 pm
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            I just want to say that those who are bullying you , if they are Christians, need to reconnect with God. My belief and trust in the only true God has nothing to do with liking, commenting or sharing on FB. He sees what is in the heart.

          • February 22, 2016 at 12:15 pm
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            I’m a Christian and I know a lot of Christians that would Not do that. Past, present & future. I’m so Sorry that you had to experience this. A true decated Christian would not, but a hypocrite would.. And there are many,many hypocrites. Inside & outside of churches. Deceivers, Liars, come in all different shapes & sizes and all different cultures/backgrounds. Believers & Nonbelievers! Again, I’m so Sorry you had to encounter their selfish, thoughtless & rude behavior. No matter What, When, Where or Who …. JUDGING is Wrong. God Bless 🙂

          • February 22, 2016 at 6:36 pm
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            Not very Christian behavior at all. Sadly one of the most hateful things Ive seen on Facebook was posted by someone claimung to be a really good Christian!

          • March 16, 2016 at 1:28 pm
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            then this means that they are not TRUE Christians…God and Jesus Christ’s true followers would never call others nasty and disgusting names.. “Let a rotten word not come out of your mouth, but only what is good for building up as the need may be, to impart what is beneficial to the hearers.” – Ephesians 4:29… so sorry that happened to you…

          • April 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm
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            I’m really sorry this happened to you radical Christians aren’t right in the head. A true Christian would not make fun of you, I pray you are no longer harassed. GOD bless you. 🙂

          • May 30, 2016 at 10:35 am
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            I am so sorry that those so called Christian people did that, they are not true Christians. The Lord teach’s us to do all things in Love!

          • September 7, 2016 at 5:05 am
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            not by real Christians you didn’t.

        • January 30, 2016 at 6:57 am
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          I agree. Makes no sense. God doesn’t use Facebook. I can pray and say Amen without typing it in a comment section.

        • February 9, 2016 at 4:42 pm
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          I know this is actually so true !!! pray whichever way u like. nobody can dictate u that or call u heartless !

        • February 20, 2016 at 12:56 pm
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          I agree – I always felt a little guilty for not “liking” the photo. It never occurred to me that this wasn’t some well meaning person putting it out there. But recently I came to the conclusion that not “liking” the photo’s does NOT make me a heartless person. Or if I don’t post “Amen”, that I’ll be going to hell.

        • March 3, 2016 at 12:50 pm
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          It absolutely *is* bullying! I’ve said the same thing before – I won’t be bullied into doing something, and if people judge me for hiding posts like that, well, that’s on them, not me.
          Hope you have a great day! 🙂

        • March 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm
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          Beautifully said. ? It’s bizarre how people believed that an amen would cure a person they nor the poster know anything about. I’ve seen posters of those posts say things that clearly didn’t match up with the post. Like some would call a picture of a girl a picture of a boy. (Instead of saying her they’d say him.) Clear indication that the poster is fishing. Also you could check their profile and see how many times they’ve done things like that. If it’s common then they’re only doing that for one reason. Noone posts sad events back to back like that. Common sense.

        • March 30, 2016 at 3:17 am
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          Exactly! That is so ridiculous, really.

        • April 5, 2016 at 7:45 am
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          It’s not just that, in one post they wrote, say “Amen” or 7 years of bad luck. Funny.

        • August 25, 2016 at 1:07 am
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          I absolutely agree. I hate the ones that tell me God won’t bless me. How do they know that?

        • August 25, 2016 at 11:01 am
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          I agree.

        • September 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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          I agree. I hate those posts. Ignore them EVERYTIME.

    • January 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm
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      Thank you for the info will watch and pass them by

    • January 23, 2016 at 10:24 am
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      I knew it didn’t make sense to comment on these post, some threaten you or command you not to stroll past, however I have felt concerned/agreed or cared but I’m not doing it. I My question is how are these post sold to anyone is for advertising or what? It’s just wrong!

      • January 31, 2016 at 7:10 am
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        They sell their page because it has a lot of followers, then then use the page for advertising. Gets to more people then. These photos have been stolen for years just to get ‘likes’ and ‘comments’….the more of these then the more following….more ‘free’ advertising.

    • February 18, 2016 at 12:29 pm
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      I have repeated ly complained to FB about these posts. We should start a petition to have them remove like farmers. Sometimes the child has since died, causing great distress to the parents.

      • March 23, 2016 at 4:41 am
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        Facebook is cracking down on pages like these and has been for years. Just hard to catch them all, especially with so many people giving positive feedback by liking, clicking, commenting and sharing. Just ignore or report as spam if you check out the page and it’s obviously a spam page

      • September 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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        I have complained as well

    • February 26, 2016 at 6:29 am
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      Be kind and accept the prayers of that hurting child. Even if the picture is stolen and baby is not longer with us here on earth and in our lives does not mean a prayer from an honest person will not be wasted. God has a way of making malicious intents from one person become a blessing to the other… Even if we don’t ask…

      My heartfelt prayers go out to the parents of the child who is suffering…

      • August 15, 2016 at 9:46 am
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        Did you read the article at all? The information is being used to commit crimes. Stop liking. It’s not a prayer! And, afterall, what is a prayer? Sorry, but if you want to help those children make a monthly donation to a respectable charity. Don’t hit like. Geesh.

      • September 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm
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        To: EmCeeJay, because everyone replying to this information is pretty much anonymous, and your comment is to still be kind and share it anyway, leads me to think that you are probably one of these people who does the exploiting and you don’t want to lose a source of revenue. If you are truly being compassionate, then say prayers in your church or your home. God can hear everyone remember!!!! Or do as CK DesGrosseilliers suggested and make a donation!!!

    • March 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm
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      I am sooo happy that I didn’t participate in this, but I felt bad and since I tend to believe in anything, even bad luck, I get scared passing it by,,,lol

    • March 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm
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      Thank you for telling me. I was not aware of what was going on. I wont do that again.

    • April 18, 2016 at 10:31 am
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      I have been on guard for these pictures and alerting people weekly about this very fact! I have reported pictures like this very one and get a response back from FB that it is NOT IN VIOLATION of FB rules!
      This becomes very frustrating and makes you want to not go that route!
      Other than alert law enforcement, what other option do I have?

      • September 16, 2016 at 12:58 pm
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        I keep doing the same thin on my FB page. Many of my unsuspecting friends and family had no idea this was happening. This is a cautionary tale to remind everyone to never hit like or share unless you actually know the person or family who is dealing with these things. Chances are they would be posting such private and painful information publically, so just use “Common Sense”.

    • September 8, 2016 at 9:50 pm
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      These people on my FB are simply morons. It makes them feel good for that second. But a “like” “is” like a “prayer” in that neither do anything. Makes my head want to explode.

      • December 3, 2016 at 4:48 pm
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        It makes $$$$ for the scammer posting. Don’t be shamed into lining these creeps’ pockets.

  • January 7, 2016 at 6:58 am
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    I’ve never shared those because I don’t like being “guilted” into doing something and they also seemed off to me. But thank you for sharing this. I had no idea of the ugly background related to those posts. I will be sure to share your information with family and friends. And I’m sorry this has happened to your beautiful family.

  • January 7, 2016 at 11:18 am
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    THIS needs to go viral! I NEVER hit “like” or type “amen” but didn’t realize much of what you just wrote. Can you possible re-write a “reader’s digest” version of this (including all the ones WITHOUT images–you know the good luck/bad luck ones, etc.) I would be HAPPY to post that and hopefully the information to NOT allow scams to go viral will go viral! I’m not on your FB page so please include it on your blog.

  • January 7, 2016 at 5:06 pm
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    Courtney,
    Thanks for sharing & for making me aware of how some people will use & exploit others for the sole purpose of making money. Please share if you can how one can tell if they are legitimate or if the person posting has stolen the image.

    • February 18, 2016 at 10:21 pm
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      Just dont like or comment on any page. Its stupid anyway. Ur not helping these people in any way.

  • January 8, 2016 at 3:16 am
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    Thank you for this information. I did not know what was behind the posts that you mentioned above. Brenna continues to teach us so much.

  • January 8, 2016 at 6:46 am
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    I’m knew to new technology been out of the working loop for a number of years. My grandchildren gave me my iPad a few years ago to bring me into the twenty millinum as my grandson said. Other then trying to read here and there about different things I’m not suave to all these goings on like this so I’m very happy that you shared this information. It’s sad that this happens to our innocent lil ones. I guess a person can’t really click on anything because you don’t know whose behind it right? God Bless us All to keep us safe from the predators.

  • January 8, 2016 at 7:10 am
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    Thanks for this post…I’ve never “liked” those posts for just that reason! Most people have good intentions, without realizing the consequences!
    HUGS

  • January 8, 2016 at 10:08 am
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    Thank-you for this post! I came across an exploitive post on Facebook and subsequently traced the post back to the page of the originator. He had continued to post pictures of children that had passed away upwards of 9 years prior and had taken a picture of a mother and sick child, claiming the child had died, when in actuality the child was still alive. Thankfully his page was shut down; however, he had over 77,000 followers! What bothers me most is that despite my complaints, Facebook advised me that his posts did not violate their terms of service. There is no easy way to get rid of such Facebook users or their offending pages, unfortunately.

    • February 3, 2016 at 2:15 am
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      I run s Facebook page called “what are like farmers” we try to get pages taken down. There are ways 🙂

    • April 18, 2016 at 10:36 am
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      I hear you! Same thing happens to me every time!
      I had read that Facebook was in the process of making a different option when reporting an exploited picture but they haven’t done it yet!

  • January 8, 2016 at 8:20 pm
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    I know I have seen these. If I feel compelled to help I have googled the name and found actual websites set up parents or hospitals to donate to …Sharing and clicking is nothing but exploiting…..

  • January 9, 2016 at 8:56 am
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    The reason there are so many scammers online is because there are so many suckers who believe these kind of posts or that other phony sites are actually giving away cars, jewelry, etc. I have warned my FB friends about these scams but it doesn’t seem to sink in. You just can’t help the gullible.

  • January 9, 2016 at 6:07 pm
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    Thank you for this information – I’ve never shared these sort of posts myself because logically sharing something on Facebook does not equate to or result in a prayer, but I hadn’t realised, and have never stopped to consider, the devastating effects these sort of posts can have on the families of these innocent children.
    After reading your article, I came across this article of a similar nature http://www.theage.com.au/national/disability-advocates-demand-an-end-to-slacktivism-and-inspiration-porn-20160109-gm2dw9.html#ixzz3wmZFBzK9
    Both your post and this article make some very good points.

  • January 9, 2016 at 7:33 pm
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    I have seen these and I have posted. But I always send blessings to the child for healing and then…amen.
    Because amen means “so be it” but I don’t want the child to think I want her current pain to be….first healing….let THAT be.
    But thanks to you pointing out the exploiting here….I will not do even that anymore.
    Thank you…..and blessings be.

  • January 10, 2016 at 7:33 am
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    Thank you for the post

    • January 12, 2016 at 11:00 am
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      I have shared and typed Amen won’t be done ng it again

  • January 12, 2016 at 2:48 am
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    I keep scrolling past because I know Facebook isn’t who determines what type of person I am and I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t have Facebook! In the instances of the beautiful little children, I just say in to myself, “God bless these dear little children”. Then I usually report the photo as inappropriate for Facebook! These people take it too far ….posting pictures of a child laying dead in a street with blood coming from her mouth! With a caption of ‘A love story’! I didn’t read anything and I will never get that image out of my head …..what ever happened to respect?! True compassion would be to either say a prayer for the child and the families or find out ways to help not plaster these dear little children all over the media ….the money that’s made from these stolen pictures by these companies should be taken from them and go to finding cures, to the families with the medical expenses and to the foundations that help these families caring for these beautiful children. Amen!

  • January 16, 2016 at 12:41 pm
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    Thank you.

  • January 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm
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    I think this is horrible but have you thought of watermarking/copyrighting your photos so this can’t happen? It’s super easy to do in Photoshop and Lightroom. It’s just a matter of telling it what you want on the photo and then checking a box when exporting.

    • January 19, 2016 at 8:40 am
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      Yes I have thought about it, but it would take a ton of time to do that to all of my photos and it still wouldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t happen.

      • February 3, 2016 at 2:17 am
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        Use the copyright complaint process. It is more work than “report this image” but more powerful

        • February 3, 2016 at 6:25 am
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          Yes that is what I have used in the past – two different times.

  • January 18, 2016 at 9:29 pm
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    I am so glad to have read this article. I have never typed amen or clicked a like. It just made no sense that doing so would help anyone in anyway… but hey it does help those we as decent people would not want to help in anyway.
    I have worked with special needs kids and discovered they are actually very normal people who fit into society quite well. their parents and friends have adjusted to their special need and their parents and the child have adjusted… No need to post pictures and feel sorry for them at all.

  • January 19, 2016 at 6:02 am
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    Thanks for posting

  • January 19, 2016 at 10:27 am
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    So true. If a prayer request is legitimate, it should contain the person’s name and their specific prayer needs.

  • January 19, 2016 at 5:04 pm
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    Amen

  • January 20, 2016 at 12:12 am
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    Thank you. I have always hated those type of posts and refused to share or like. They just rub me the wrong way. I’m glad to know my instincts were right. I’m sorry they took your daughters photo.

  • January 20, 2016 at 6:04 am
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    Thank you for posting this. I appreciate the education and will share your blog as much as I can.

    • January 30, 2016 at 7:16 pm
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      Thank you for opening my eyes to this- I had NO idea and was , each time only hoping to help.Live and learn. 🙁

  • January 20, 2016 at 9:21 am
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    Am sorry for all this mistake. I rarely “like” or “amen” or “share” cz jesus picture already is good. Even few post. Says ” if you love your mom, your sister , your grandma, your son etc.etc.etc.i guess no body gonna say I doesn’t like jesus or other mentioned above. Thank you for this valuable advise. Is very clear to me now.!!

  • January 22, 2016 at 10:25 am
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    Thank you for letting me know about this I didn’t mean to hurt anybody I thought I was being helpful I’m not clicking on them post anymore my love always violet.

  • January 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm
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    Thank you for the post. I try not to respond to any posting that has an religious responce. That is your choice. Information is good but your faith is yours. If you want to study a question I would be glad to study with you but I don’t give answers to unasked questions.

  • January 28, 2016 at 12:36 am
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    Wow, I honestly had no idea. Appreciate this post and I’m sorry you’ve experienced this. God bless you and your family xox

  • January 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm
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    I have shared and typed”Amen” on posts like these, and I am truly sorry for any harm I may have caused by doing so. I only meant to be helpful. Thank you for the helpful information and I won’t be sharing posts like these anymore. God bless you and your family.

  • January 28, 2016 at 10:25 pm
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    I’m glad this is posted. Every time I see these “Type Amen” posts I get a horrible feeling that something isn’t right about them. Not once have I shared those because I honestly think they are ridiculous. People don’t need to steal and share personal photos to make a “fund.” I pray in my own time without using those crazy posts. I honestly pray for specific things happening or have happened before Facebook spreads them. People really need to check themselves before doing something like this.

    Just my heart speaking.

  • January 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm
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    This is VERY well said and I am with you 100%. However, MOST people who use Facebook are woefully gullible and they won’t listen. They will continue to post/share/like/type Amen because, hey… If it’s on Facebook, it MUST be true, right? And sadly, 90% of the people on my Friend list are ignorant and just plain stupid… Love them all… They are my REAL friends and family… but they won’t listen… Even though I’ve shared this with them…. *sigh*

  • January 30, 2016 at 10:40 am
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    Occasionally I would type amen – then one day I decided to look at the person’s site that the request came from. I was horrified!!! The photos on that person’s timeline were grotesque, horrible, maimed, mutilated bodies – absolutely sickening. And I went to one other person’s FB page and the same thing. Sick, sick people.! Please don’t give them an amen no matter what they are requesting it for. If your hearts strings are tugging at some story they posted, say a silent prayer instead.

  • January 31, 2016 at 4:25 am
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    I have also hear a rumour that “hackers” can get your personal information to contact you for their “scams” etc this way. Every time you re-post these types of posts, these “hackers” could potentially get hold of your information and possibly that of all the people on your friend list. They could also contain viruses… I don’t know how much of this is true, but also just wanted to put it out there. Thank you for your post, I also don’t re-post these posts as I do not believe God will only bless me if I re-post…my heart still goes out to the children, but I can always pray for them on my own and I KNOW God will still bless them and help with healing even though I did not post it on Facebook….

  • January 31, 2016 at 5:30 am
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    If see these sort of posts and report to Facebook as scam , will they take it down ?

    • February 1, 2016 at 6:29 am
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      I don’t think Facebook is very helpful with this sort of thing but I’m not sure of their specific guidelines. If the owner of the photo fills out a form stating their copyright has been stolen, they are legally obligated to take it down – which is why I always encourage people to alert me if they see a photo of Brenna

  • January 31, 2016 at 7:25 am
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    I’m going to bookmark this and then paste the URL into the comments when I see these posts.

  • February 1, 2016 at 12:22 am
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    It’s also against HIPPA laws

    • April 16, 2016 at 4:19 pm
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      You must mean HIPAA

  • February 1, 2016 at 6:29 am
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    I didn’t know this and am grateful for the knowledge….

  • February 1, 2016 at 7:32 am
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    I am very glad for the info. I do believe that if a stipulation or judgement is placed on your response, then it is manipulative and I have to wonder about the validity of the post itself.
    Questuon: I wonder if we didn’t like or comment on it, but just prayed and shared it, if the scammed results would still apply. Prayer TRULY does work! We may not always get the answer we want, but we get the answer that is best. (We don’t see the whole picture, only God does.)
    Also, I apologize for any ugliness that others may have received by other Christians, for that is truly not what Our Lord teaches. HOWEVER, please remember, whether someone is Christian OR non-Christian, NOONE is perfect and we ALL have our short-comings/character flaws.

    • February 1, 2016 at 9:47 am
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      Natalie – I urge you not to engage with posts like this at all, not even to share. Sharing these posts results in many, many more people seeing them – who will then inevitably like and comment and share it themselves. One other point to consider is that many times these posts are completely false (i.e. the condition they are describing it not even what is causing the child to be sick, or they claim the child is having surgery and to pray, which is a lie) or these posts use outdated images. One in particular I am thinking of is a post with a child who had the same condition as Brenna. The post was claiming that he would be having life-saving surgery, but in actuality, the photo was old and the child had sadly already passed away.

  • February 1, 2016 at 4:33 pm
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    Excellent post, Courtney!

  • February 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm
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    I’ll be sure to pass this along to my Facebook friends. There are quite a few of them who share or comment on those posts way too often. It is absolutely sickening to see those less fortunate get exploited like that.

  • February 7, 2016 at 11:59 am
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    Thanks for enlightening people Courtney. I can see why people get sucked into these scams – we all want to help the child/ puppy/ show we believe in Jesus etc – though why anyone thinks typing ‘amen’ is going to help is beyond me. As an atheist former Christian I am now convinced that prayer helps no-one; if you want to help, roll up your sleeves or open up your purse. As I always say to my children -an ounce of help is worth a deal of pity!

  • February 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm
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    I’m so sorry for all the one’s I have forwarded. I did not know how it was being used. I will not post or share again of these precious children.

  • February 9, 2016 at 8:27 pm
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    Thank you so much for this article. Meme’s like that should be make a federal offense.

  • February 10, 2016 at 8:55 am
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    Now this I can get behind. Thank you

  • February 14, 2016 at 4:47 pm
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    I have never liked or shared these things because they really tick me off. I mean, who do these people think they are to imply that I’m going to hell if I don’t follow their orders? Now, thanks to you, I have an even better reason to ignore them.

  • February 15, 2016 at 1:58 am
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    As someone who comes from a family with a special needs member, scams like these really anger me. Someone exploiting the most vulnerable, I have no words.

    That said, always be careful of anything you see on the internet. Anytime someone wants you to share something, especially if they are offering financial compensation, it is almost always a scam or phishing scheme. Also stop and think about what’s being offered. While I am no Bible scholar and not exactly sure how prayer works, I am pretty sure clicking like isn’t the same as praying.

  • February 15, 2016 at 8:13 pm
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    Thank you for your post. A year after my grandson passed away from cancer, a friend posted a similar ad, not realizing it was our grandson. It was a similar ad but had nothing to do with his type of cancer. My daughter-in-law pulled all of her children’s pictures off of every site she could. It is appalling that people make money off of our sick children.

  • February 16, 2016 at 7:49 pm
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    Thank you so much for trying to enlighten people who do this. I am angered everytime I see these posts by people who have no clue. Praying for you and your family. Brenna is a doll and true gift from above to you and you family. Wishing you all the best life has to give.

  • February 18, 2016 at 9:20 am
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    This is absolutely horrible. We post things to get prayers for people that might need it and others want to use it to do harm. Just crazy, thanks for letting us know, but I’m trying to post it on my FBT page, how do I do it?

  • February 18, 2016 at 8:41 pm
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    I’m so sorry this happened to your baby and your family. I do not reply or comment or share posts which contain manipulative messages. The ones I occasionally share either I know the family personally, or a true friend of mine, knows the family and person involved.

    As you say, when certain conditions exist, a community arises around them. Such is the case with congenital heart disease, or infant baby death. I also know a family who had their baby’s picture stolen. I saw his baby post pop-up when in fact, I knew him to be six years old when it appeared suddenly.

    I hope you are able to address the issue directly with Facebook so that your baby’s picture is removed from all pages and sites. They can do that. They can block any and all sharing of such a post. They have the power, but not always the motivation to do so. Large volume shares are good for their business too.

    Prayers at my house are said daily for children with special needs. I don’t need a posting to remind me. God reminds me. He knows all their names and all their needs better than anyone.

    Thank you for adding information and sharing your story. I’ve mentioned the same thing – not on the posts – but in private messages to the friends who share them, but they often remain unconvinced. They mean well, but simply don’t get it.

  • February 19, 2016 at 6:55 am
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    So… What can/should we do?! Is reporting photos like these helpful?

  • February 20, 2016 at 1:05 am
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    I don’t repost these. I feel like this if the family wants them posted all over the metaverse they will find the means to do it themselves however taking an animal or child and exploiting them all over the metaverse for your own selfish gain only hurts the family that has this child your exploiting for your own selfishness. It’s morally wrong and the person that creates these fake posts with these children and animals are very sick and twisted in the mind. This hurts the families these hijacked victims ie the children and or the animals being exploited. I can’t believe how low someone people would go to make a buck or two on multimedia and what is really sad is if someone was to do this to a family member of theirs they would raise holy hell about it and wouldn’t hesitate to say how morally wrong it is and how it made them feel to see or even hear about it…. Think about it people, I mean come on… You know yourself you’d feel violated if it was someone or an animal from your family now you know how the families of that sick or dying child or animal feels if you’d only stop and reserve the common sense we all have. This just disgusts me and urks me to no end.

  • February 24, 2016 at 12:37 am
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    I totally agree with you. I saw your story on one of the new magazines I watch on ABC TV. There is another reason for not sharing pictures of children, sick or well. It is simply that to do so makes those photos available to pedophiles of all ilks to copy and paste as use as they wish, without your even knowing it. My children requested that I not put pictures of their children on the Internet some 20 years ago because my son in law had a sensitive job and enemies who could and likely would use those pcitures against him or to find his children. I have alsways respected theri wishes. That was long before Facebook and my site was not viewed by a whole lot of people. Still, their conderns have often reminded me to think before sharng a picture. There are also people, many of them unscrupulous men looking for a woman to tap for money, who steal the pictures of your friends, put them on a new message link for FB messenger and then message you about a great deal, a grant or some other offer they have just received asking you to participate in it. I even got caught in one of those and I am normally pretty savvy about stuff like that. There are also a bunch of men, some who are just legitimately lonely and some who are just jerks, who have begun treating FB like match.com in that they will friend a woman, usually an older woman, and begin chatting with her. Soon they are declaring their undying love because they are, so they claim, either divorced or widowed and often with teen or pre-teen children seen in their pictures. I have found a way to out these guys. Just do a search for them on FB. Generally you will find several, up to thrity, FB pages with their name or some mixture of it, last first and middle turned around etc. They tend to say that they are in the U. S. military in Syria or Afghanistan and going to be comeing “home” in a month or two. They say that they love you before you have even known them for a month and some try to get you to send them money. Be careful and do not let them get you into video chats and overseas phone calls! They will soom ask for money, if you don’t call them on their bullroar first! Pictures on FB and messenger are not checked for accuracy or, as you pointed out, permission to use granted.

  • February 25, 2016 at 1:00 am
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    Thankyou for explaining this situation…best if we pray privately for these things that come up…God understands better than anyone where our heart and thoughts are at…safest to go to Him. ❤

  • February 25, 2016 at 6:06 am
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    I don’t reply to these as I was led to believe that the word amen means so be it,so by typing that you are agreeing to that child suffering!.And I don’t like the similarity between some of these posts and the chain letter that circulated in the 70’s and80’s,I used to throw them in the bin!

  • March 1, 2016 at 5:39 pm
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    How is the best way to stop these? Anyone know? I am forwarding this to the person who shares them. I think she is a little superstitious, too…but, am not sure. These pictures make me sick and the people that post them are for the most part, I believe doing the for all the wrong reasons.

  • March 4, 2016 at 11:05 pm
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    Thank you, a link to this page will be posted in the comment section of everyone of those type of posts. Hopefully this WILL get the point across. AMEN and yes I LIKE your page!!

  • March 11, 2016 at 8:08 am
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    I did not know this. I assumed the people needed emotional support!!! I will never do that again. I never knew people could be so cold blooded. There is a special place for them. God will take care of them, don’t worry!!!!!

  • April 3, 2016 at 8:18 am
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    Iv’e ran into quite a slew of these picture scams, I am often frustrated that I can’t even block them, they are like a trojan horse or spyware that is tough to get rid of, all I can do is hide their annoying posts, found that out several months ago when I tried to block, I was greeted by a frustrating message saying sorry but this page cannot be blocked, and that infuriates me.

  • April 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm
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    I had no idea. I’ve never shared anything like this but I always kind of wondered what someone was getting out of it. Thanks for sharing this. My friend posted a link to this on her page and I’m sharing it to get the word out. It must be incredibly upsetting to come across a photo of your own child on one of these posts, like a gut punch. Ugh. Thanks again for the info!

  • April 8, 2016 at 10:58 pm
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    I am sorry but God does not scan Facebook helping those with the most likes…it is just not how He/She works…

  • April 9, 2016 at 2:43 pm
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    Very well said, let me add another thought..This is the same reasoning for not sharing the “missing person” posts. I would recommend going to the original facebook page before re-posting to see if it is a legit page (like if they have anything in their personal data like they have been on facebook for some time). This also applies to ANY post (even a cartoon) that say’s “like and type Amen” or for that matter any anonymous post just says “click like.”.Even the click like and share to enter to win something usually leads to a brand new facebook user. There are legitimate posts out there and these scam posts are ensuring that the legit posts get lost in the mix. We all have been guilty of doing this at one time or another.

  • April 13, 2016 at 4:10 pm
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    I have seen this photo many times over the past few months, I did often wonder where this little baby was from and how hurt her parents must be by seeing this exploitation of their child. I wonder if she is happy and if her parents are ok too. So it is nice to know. I am sorry that you were violated in this way. I have never face book liked, nor shared the picture. You have a beautiful family 🙂 and no one can take that away. Not even “like” farmers like the immoral people that have do this to families all over the world.

  • April 17, 2016 at 3:47 pm
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    I’ve been saying for quite some time now that these things were just scams and no one ever listens. Well, how does it feel now knowing that I was right all along? Most people on social media are just so damn gullible and will believe everything they see on a website because they’re all brainwashed by the media and government. Think for yourselves, don’t be a puppet.

    • April 18, 2016 at 10:39 am
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      Amen!
      It’s so frustrating being an advocate for this cause!
      I will alert someone about this issue and within a few days, the person is once again posting a similar picture!

  • April 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm
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    I agree with this article fully. That being said, parents should also limit what they put on facebook knowing that it can be stolen. And strengthen their privacy settings. I am amazed at how many parents put pictures of their kids out there under public settings

  • April 18, 2016 at 3:01 pm
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    It’s a bunch of manipulative hogwash-
    A like or share is not action, it just makes someone feel better about themselves for a while.
    Where is the ” action ” ?
    People who help others in need are too busy doing things, and are not scrolling their FB looking for the white Jesus with the halo around his European, fair haired visage.
    What this practice reflects is the lack of critical thinking in society.

  • April 21, 2016 at 7:42 am
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    i have been messaging one of these weasels for a while, think he’s gone underground for a bit, i have been telling people to stop typing amen, he does it to get followers and no other reason, uses a picture of justin Beaber as his profile sometimes…. if you open this picture, right click and use Google to find it, it shows where it came from, he used a baby casket maker picture to claim that muslims killed a baby for being a christian, also used a picture of a mexican gang killing and said it was Christians killed by Muslims just for being Christians… as if we dont already have enough probs with lunatics!!

  • April 21, 2016 at 11:28 am
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    What’s even more unforgivable is that some of these posts have the audacity to wish you seven [or even ten] years bad luck if you don’t comment, like and share. I comment all right – I wish them the same ill-luck that they have just wished me!

  • April 21, 2016 at 8:44 pm
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    Dear Courtney ~ Thank you for alerting us all, who actually have good intentions, to this disgusting scam. It is a terrible form of abuse. One of my friends whom I shared Brenna’s photo with actually gave me the warning and then I clicked on to your Post. I had no idea.
    Thank you for your honesty and for your bravery. May God’s healing touch your precious little Brenna in some miraculous way. Sincerely yours, Barb in Costa Rica.

  • April 26, 2016 at 8:06 am
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    True story: When my sis was preggo,people would send her a bunch of pics of sick kids on fb,and told her to share,or she would be consider a bad person. So for the past 9months I kept looking at my fb page and I kept seeing kids who where really ill.I was so piss,friends asking is she okay,lead me to delete my fb.I hate fb.

  • June 9, 2016 at 9:45 am
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    You should only share if you know the person that posted ….otherwise ….you could be contributing to a scam…. and / or being hacked.

  • June 21, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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    Courtney thank you so much for this. I always had a feeling that these were shameless marketing tactics and to learn that the perpetrators engage in malware and spyware propagation is icing on the cake. Every day I get at least a dozen of these in my newsfeed and decided to go on a crusade against what I believed to be exploitation of sick children. Yours was the first intelligent and well researched article I found about the subject. For the past few days all I have done is comment on the posts with a link to this article and today was the first day in a very long time I did not get any of those posts in my feed. You lady are a hero!

  • June 23, 2016 at 12:00 am
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    And not to mention if the child has passed away how hurtful it can be to the grieving.

    • July 26, 2016 at 10:46 am
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      Thanks for this post! I, myself have posted a lot of likes in the animal posts. I ADORE animals, and wasn’t aware of the “why” or the real motive behind them. I AM a Christian and definitely not a heartless person. Makes perfect sense when you think about the process of it; and to think what people do after a post goes viral like that! ❤️

  • July 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm
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    I generally look at the posts, and if I am moved, I offer a silent (unlisted) prayer.

    People who want to spread a message don’t resort to these social media emotional manipulations like “if you ignore”

    I don’t even like to ask people to share a post that is important to me.

  • August 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm
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    Ohmigoodness…I had no idea that there was such a thing as “like-farming” and that people got paid for getting likes! Crazy. So sorry your family went through that. But thanks so much for sharing the real story of what’s going on with Fakebook “likes.”

  • August 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm
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    Amen

  • August 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm
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    What about those “comment your location” posts? Same thing?

    • August 31, 2016 at 1:49 pm
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      I would say that a lot of them are. Because there sure are a lot of them.

  • August 31, 2016 at 6:09 am
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    Let’s also keep in mind that often the context means that typing “amen” actually causes the commenter to agree with, or incourage, the content the image portraits.
    Let’s not forget that “amen” actually means “so be it”.

  • August 31, 2016 at 1:48 pm
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    Nowhere does it say “You must like and share these pictures on social media to find favor with the Lord.” god knows what is in the heart, and I seriously doubt that he has angels in heaven counting your likes to record in the Great Book by your name. Yes, it would be wonderful to believe that these posts are really trying to encourage prayers, but unless you actually say the prayer yourself, it doesn’t happen. and your prayers are between you and God, so why should you succumb to the peer pressure of sharing to publicize you prayer? When I see these pictures on my feed, I just say a quick prayer for the child/person and scroll on.

  • September 2, 2016 at 5:37 am
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    I have been saying this for a long time……it is reminiscent of ‘chain letters’… playing on the conscience of vulnerable people

  • September 7, 2016 at 6:19 pm
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    God came before FB. Therefore I do not like or share.

  • September 8, 2016 at 4:39 pm
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    I have been leaving this link on everyone of these sick posts i see!

  • September 14, 2016 at 3:27 pm
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    I feel the same way I can’t stand it when they post pictures I think it’s disrespectful to a child and why would you say Amen that’s like saying hooray

  • September 24, 2016 at 4:01 am
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    To me Facebook is entertaining it’s not there to exploit children or even animal.on several occasions i had to take down posts where both children and animals were been exploited and I found it very upsetting.the people doing this should be blocked and something else that annoys me is when religious pictures are posted.you’re asked to scroll down and say Amen and if you don’t you will have so many years bad luck. That’s not right. Facebook can be very entertaining and it only takes a few people to ruin it.

  • September 25, 2016 at 1:02 pm
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    I understand this then why dosnt facebook do anything about this they can block all )kinds of other stufff why cant they come up with a reg. Or something before pic can be used so this no longer happens.. Just wondering. But what do i know… Seems pretttty simple ifu ask me for a multi billion dolllar company.

  • September 27, 2016 at 10:27 pm
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    This is good to know, but does it mean we shouldn’t respond to ANY prayers?

  • October 4, 2016 at 5:55 pm
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    I get so mad at these. Especially the ones who wish bad luck if you do not comment. Thank you for this article.

  • October 13, 2016 at 3:38 am
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    I sid not know this but now that I do I won’t be doing it again, I just feel bad when I see things like this but I will pray more g post less.

  • November 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm
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    Thanks for the info.

  • November 9, 2016 at 5:46 pm
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    I have told my mum bout things like this and told her and my sis not to do it as I’ve always known these images have been stolen. I once clicked on a persons profile who did post one of these and it was of someone completely foreign to the image and wanted ppl to like their page. It makes me sick to see, that ppl do this at all for their own gain and to get more publicity. Grow up cuz ur only hurting the actual ppl who own these photos.

  • November 21, 2016 at 5:11 pm
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    I want to share this article but do not want the picture of the baby on it. I have tried to tell my fb friends about this and some of them just don’t listen. This is an excellent article but do not want to post the picture of the baby. Thank you !

  • November 28, 2016 at 11:29 pm
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    I delete friends that post this. It’s nothing personal towards them. I agree with this post! It never felt right anytime I seen a post like this.

  • December 9, 2016 at 8:02 am
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    God isn’t like Bruce Almighty sitting at his computer to answer emails or Facebook alerts!

    To the person bullied by “Christians,” I am so sorry that happened to you. That said, I am glad to see so many Christians commenting and apologizing on their behalf. True followers of Christ genuinely care and would not go out of their way to hurt others. I hope the “bullying Christians” get back to the basics and remember Christ is not theirs to use in that manner.

    Warmly,
    A Christ Lover

  • December 14, 2016 at 1:47 am
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    “AMEN” actually means “SO BE IT”. Typing amen to a picture of a sick baby, means you’re just going to let it be. That’s more heartless than ignoring the post and moving on.

Comments are closed.