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‘Selfie Police’ aim to turn selfish shots into selfless thoughts

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Posted at 10:02 PM, Jan 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-20 00:02:27-05

PROVO, Utah – A Utah organization is taking a unique approach to fundraising for charity, and self-absorbed social media posters should be aware: the Selfie Police are on patrol.

Chas Barton and Dustin Locke said things started when they set out to find ways to get a selfish generation engaged with charity work, and things kicked off with a 24-hour creative art competition for the non-profit organization Vittana.

The idea was the “Selfie Police” and several months later, the group has raised more than $1,400 for charity.

Barton, Selfie Police co-founder and art director, said they call out people who take selfies in order to help them be more selfless.

“You have your phone out, its pointing towards you, you are focusing on yourself, and in that moment--if we can cause people to just reflect enough to say, ‘you know what, I should help somebody else out and just donate one dollar,’" he said.

The group uses hashtags and volunteer action to promote their cause.

“So if you see your friends posting selfies, all you have to do is call them out,” Barton said. “You write on their Instagram or on their Twitter.. ‘hashtag selfie police looks like you're busted, you should go donate a dollar.’"

Those who get called out are encouraged to go to selfiepolice.org and donate a dollar.

“We are choosing to donate all of the donations to a group called Vittana, and they provide micro loans to students in third-world countries who are trying to get a higher education,” Barton said.

The pair says the money donated to Vittana and given to students will be paid back to Vittana, which will continue the cycle by funding more student’s educations.

Locke is the co-founder and site-developer for Selfie Police, and he said they aren’t trying to make selfie takers feel awful, just more aware.

“This isn't meant to be an attack on people who do it, we don’t really think it is egotistical, it's not evil, but it is an opportunity to, while you are looking at yourself, to think about somebody that can use the same opportunity you are having,” he said.