Facebook Cartoon Campaign: Not Child Friendly?


You may be wondering why Facebook is looking a little animated recently. Your friends profile avatars to be exact. The whole thing has gone from a seemingly innocent, albeit confusing campaign, to a down right dirty ploy launched by creepy Internet pedophiles.

Here is the time-line of what we know so far regarding this profile pic changing campaign:
AOL News reported that it was in mid-November that, “the earliest known origins of the Facebook cartoon meme stemmed from Greece and Cyprus.” Knowyourmeme.com stated on their website the following status update that quickly viral: “From the 16th to the 20th of November, we shall change our profile pictures to our favourite cartoon characters.” They went on to say that the purpose of the game was merely to remove all photos of humans for a few days. Okay, not exactly splitting the atom, however – harmless enough. At this point, even The Huffington Post released articles revealing that everything regarding the gag seemed kosher.

Now, in the week of November 21-28, here’s where the campaign really begins to pick up steam. Cartoon Network reportedly hopped on the animation meme craze creating the Facebook page, ‘Choose a Cartoon Character as Your Profile Picture for a Week.’ This action caused such a stir for cartoon characters searches, Google Trends was flooded with well-known Nickelodeon terms, such as “Hey Arnold!” and “Doug.” Awe… remember that kid? Makes me want to go to the Honker Burger. But I digress…

According to ABC News, in the days leading up to Dec. 3, the campaign with no apparent hard-hitting purpose began to evolve into an anti-child abuse crusade. How did we go from nostalgic innocent childhood memories to this heavy issue? Here is an example of one of the messages sparking this shift in purpose: “Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. This is for a campaign against violence on children.”

United Kingdom based child protective organization, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), quickly responded via their official Twitter writing, “Although the NSPCC did not originate the childhood cartoon Facebook campaign, we welcome the attention it has brought to the work we do :)”

Ultimately, the last evolution – and turn for the worst – of the campaign, happened over the weekend when reports come in that the innocent cartoon gag turned anti-child abuse campaign was merely a ploy by a handful of techno pedophiles using their viral success as a way to friend children on Facebook. Let’s face it, a little kid is more apt to accept a friend request from Bugs Bunny versus Tom, the 45 year old single, unemployed, ugly man who claims to own a candy factory.

Is it possible that millions of members on Facebook along with national networks and respected news media were completely duped by a small group of twisted freaks? I smell a ‘Law and Order: SVU’ ripped from the headlines episode coming up.

Damn, I knew it was a red-flag when Betty Boop had lumberjack listed as her profession and was friends in common with Minnie Mouse the atheist. This is just one more example of how there is no such thing has full security online. And especially with Facebook. Something needs to be done. And I don’t mean a new look to our profiles. We are lucky that this scheme didn’t actually claim the childhood innocence of some sweet unsuspecting child growing up in a world of social connectivity with the illusion of safety. I believe Porky Pig said it best. “Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-… That’s all, folks.”

(Image from CityStateTimes)

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