'I like it on…' Facebook updates. Is innuendo tarnishing a cause?

"I like it on" messages has brought renewed attention to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But the payoff looks empty.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/File
The Facebook homepage appears on a computer screen in Washington in this Aug. 30 file photo. A campaign based on the suggestive phrase 'I like it on' has coursed through the social media network. But its impact looks minimal.

If you’ve noticed your female friends posting Facebook updates saying “I like it on the table,” “I like it on the floor,” or “I like it on [nearly any conceivable surface]” – it's not what you think.

Despite the innuendo-laden message, women are writing about where they like to put their purses when they get home. The idea is to raise awareness for breast cancer research by posting the suggestive messages with strict instructions not to let men in on the game.

In January, a similar effort involved women posting the color – without comment or explanation – of the bra they were wearing.

No one seems to know who started these campaigns. Some commentators have claimed that women have scheduled more breast cancer screenings in response to the campaign.

But is there any financial payoff?

Over 350 nonprofit organizations focus on breast cancer, according to the Internal Revenue Service. So far, none seems to be bragging about an increase in contributions.

“The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization did not launch this Facebook campaign nor do we directly accept donations,” said a spokeswoman. So they’re not profiting from it.

The long-established Susan G. Koman for the Cure, responsible for “Race for the Cure” runs, pink ribbons, and countless other fund-raising efforts, says they aren’t behind it, either. The January bra campaign did generate more site visits but no surge in donations, says Cindy Jones-Nyland, marketing director for the group.

“We launched our own on-line campaign (#fightbreastcancer) on Sept. 30 to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” she adds. “Thousands of people from around the world logged on to 69-seconds.org to make a pledge or promise to get involved.”

Individual contributions provide the lifeblood of the organization, which has invested nearly $1.5 billion in research and community health programs, according to the website.

That sum is far more substantive than anything the Facebook campaigns have drummed up.

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