Thousands make #nomakeupselfie donation error

 
Polar bear Many people accidentally enquired about adopting a polar bear

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Thousands of pounds donated as part of the "#nomakeupselfie" craze were sent to Unicef instead of Cancer Research UK by mistake, the BBC has learned.

More than £8m has been raised after the craze of taking a self-portrait with no make-up spread virally.

But those texting "DONATE" rather than "BEAT" found their money sent to the wrong charity.

Others accidentally inquired about adopting a polar bear from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

UN agency Unicef told the BBC that so far £18,625 has been identified as being accidentally pledged.

It said it was now working with Cancer Research UK to transfer the funds donated so they can be used as intended.

Mike Flynn, director of individual giving at Unicef UK, said it was a "genuine mix-up".

"Unicef believes this error has occurred due to those interested in donating to the #nomakeupselfie campaign sharing the text keyword 'DONATE' - rather than the keyword 'BEAT' - and the text number 70099, which has then been repeated across social media.

"'DONATE to 70099' is an SMS keyword and shortcode combination that Unicef have sole use of, specifically for any members of the public who contact us and wish to donate to us via SMS."

Kelly Rose Bradford no make up seflie The origin of the #nomakeupselfie trend is unclear

He added: "Unicef is not responsible for this error. However, we've been working hard to find a resolution to the situation for those affected.

"We contacted Cancer Research [UK] as soon as we became aware of what was happening. Unicef and Cancer Research [UK] have agreed that these donations will be received in full by Cancer Research [UK].

"We are now working closely with all parties involved to ensure that this doesn't happen again in the future."

Adopting polar bears

The #nomakeupselfie craze has taken social media by storm since flourishing last week. Its origins are unclear, but since going viral the trend has raised more than £8m for Cancer Research UK and other cancer charities.

But it has not been without mishaps for some well-meaning selfie takers.

As well as the Unicef mix-up, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) acknowledged that it too had accidentally received text messages due to the wrong keyword.

Some people's smartphones had autocorrected the word "BEAT" to instead read "BEAR".

"Thank you for choosing an adorable polar bear," the reply from the WWF said. "We will call you today to set up your adoption."

The autocorrect blunder surprised many who took to Twitter to joke about their adoption news.

"Just told Jamie to text 70007 for cancer and he accidentally sent bear," wrote Twitter user @ChrisKirk07. "Now he's got two polar bears."

The WWF said no money was taken from people who had sent the texts.

"Any texts sent to us instead of Cancer Research [UK] would not result in any donations going to help protect polar bears as WWF relies on human operators calling people back to confirm adoptions, so no money would have changed hands," said Kerry Blackstock, WWF's director of fundraising.

"When we realised there was a lot of interest in a campaign we weren't presently running we made sure our automatic text message response let the sender know their text had gone awry.

"We wish Cancer Research UK every success in their campaign and their goals. Polar bear selfies are harder to come by, though, as far as we are aware, none wear make up."

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 121.

    119.And_here_we_go_again
    The whole point of this article is that several charities use the same number and the key word DONATE, BEAT, or BEAR determines which charity the donation goes to.
    --
    Absolutely right, I made a complete fool of myself.
    Oh well, live and (hopefully) learn.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 120.

    115. Butter

    It's not as noble as you make out that is why. Social media convinced many of my generation to pretend they were planks, or to drink themselves to within an inch or slightly over of their death, market fake news groups in the hopes of getting a free iPhone 7... the mountain was brought to the sheeple not the other way around!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 119.

    117.Khuli
    "It's not based on the keyword, it's based on the text number it's sent to. The keyword identifies the service wanted (eg donation, buy, subscribe etc)."

    Did you read the article? The whole point of this article is that several charities use the same number and the key word DONATE, BEAT, or BEAR determines which charity the donation goes to.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 118.

    I support other charities in preference to Cancer Research UK because it is a major sponsor of animal experimentation. And although I accept that animal experimentation is a necessary part of medical research, I don't want to donate my own money to fund more of it, beyond that already funded by the government. Am I the only person with this view?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 117.

    114.mittfh
    So in a list of "things we didn't know last week", multiple charities all sharing the same SMS short code for donations, the computers at the other end sorting out which charity gets the donation based on the accompanying keyword.
    --
    It's not based on the keyword, it's based on the text number it's sent to. The keyword identifies the service wanted (eg donation, buy, subscribe etc).

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 116.

    I guess this is something of a rebalancing of karma / the universe righting itself. Considering that Cancer Research UK is on the Animal Aid blacklist for their funding of animal medical research, it's nice to know that some of the donations are going towards animal welfare.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 115.

    Why has no-one mentioned that this £8M was pretty much raised (or at least started and fuelled) by young people? I am proud of our younger generation when they do things like this, despite the oldies moaning about it

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 114.

    So in a list of "things we didn't know last week", multiple charities all sharing the same SMS short code for donations, the computers at the other end sorting out which charity gets the donation based on the accompanying keyword.

    This may be the highest profile instance where donations intended for one charity have mistakenly been sent to another, but I wonder if it's the only instance?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 113.

    So bare faced selfies to support Cancer spread like a cancer to support Bears?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 112.

    What I think is even more sad, is that men felt compelled to wear makeup in order raise the concept of the 'selfie' to a level that people will donate monies to a charity. Nothing but clowns - literally!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 111.

    Both CRUK and WWF are worthwhile charities. CRUK should be generous and let WWF keep the £18k considering they have benefited greatly from an amazing generous windfall.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 110.

    107.Slenderman
    "Sorry but posting a comment on a topic here hardly is in comparison to 'checking in' at Nandos or tweeting about The Voice."

    In some ways it's worse. I doubt anyone on the HYS actually has a strong view on this, they are just posting for the sake of it. At least with the others you're sharing it with friends/other interested people.

  • Comment number 109.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 108.

    Its great eveyones been doing this, but surely the charities shouldnt have the same numbers? Would avoid a lot of errors like this

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 107.

    "23. GazingAtTheStars
    3 HOURS AGO

    No different to posting on HYS."

    Sorry but posting a comment on a topic here hardly is in comparison to 'checking in' at Nandos or tweeting about The Voice.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 106.

    I wondered why these damn polar bears kept showing up at the house.
    Pesky things

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 105.

    But I WANT to adopt a polar bear...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 104.

    £2m raised, this is fantastic news.

    The dissapointing thing for me, is when did it become a "big deal" to be seen without make up. I think it is disturbing, how people are made to feel as if they should be covered up.

    However, well done to people who did donate, it is a great achievement for 2 days.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 103.

    @92.HilaryJ

    Nah. I can think of nothing worse that walking around with the general public on my lunch.

    Just finished watching 'K2: The Killer Summit' on iPlayer. Horrific story!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 102.

    Oh my gosh, people like taking pictures of themselves! *gasp*

    Maybe the bigger story here is the fact that a huge amount of money has been raised in a short space of time. Surely that should be point worth focusing on.

 

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