The Facebook cartoon profile pic meme was supposed to help end child abuse. Then it was a way for pedophiles to find kids online more easily. So is any of this true, or is the Facebook cartoon profile pic meme just a hoax?
Actually, the Facebook cartoon profile pic meme was born in mid-November, according to Snopes.com. One version of the meme, started on a Cartoon Network page, simply asked Facebook users to change their profile pics to cartoon characters for the fun of it, the purpose being to simply remove all human faces from Facebook for a few days.
However, shortly before that, a Greek Facebook post asked users to change their profile pics to cartoon characters in recognition of November 19th being the International Day Against Child Abuse and November 20th being the National Day for Children’s Rights.
Like all internet chain mail and urban legends (which seem to be slowly creeping from our E-mail to Facebook), the meme took on a nonsensical life of its own. Some users were asking their Facebook friends to join the fight against child abuse by changing their profile pics, while not giving any explanation of how it would actually help children being abused. Then the meme morphed into something even more sinister: users started posting messages that the meme was actually an elaborate hoax started by a group of pedophiles looking to meet children online. The thought behind this was that kids would be more likely to add cartoon characters as friends. However, if this were the case, why would pedophiles want other adults to change their profile photos?
According to the Daily Mail, one Facebook user’s theory is that the pedophiles will look for photos of more modern characters like Spongebob (over the likes of Betty Boop and He-Man) to weed out younger Facebook users. However, I know many adult fans of Spongebob, and this method still doesn’t make any sense. (To me the pedophile version of the cartoon profile pic meme sounds like something a Pedobear-loving prankster would come up with).
So it looks like this Facebook game was just that: a Facebook game. You can call it a hoax for not really helping to put an end to child abuse (although the NSPCC says it is glad for the attention), or you can just look at it as a fun way to relive childhood memories. Whatever the case, it isn’t the first Facebook game (remember the bra color game and the “I like it on the_______” game?), and it won’t be the last, so just be wary of what you believe the next time around.