New York, New York
"Change your FB picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal is not to see a human face on FB until Monday (Dec 6th) Join the fight against child abuse & copy and paste to your status!" reads a message sent to Facebook users over the weekend, that has since gone viral across web and virtually the globe.
It seemed like a pretty simple idea and the fact that the message claimed to be for charity perhaps fueled participants who in the thousands uploaded pics of their favorite cartoon characters and set it as their profile pic. But trouble arose Monday morning when the NSPCC (the charity purported to be running the campaign) denied any ties to the weekend sensation in a statement via their Twitter page. "Although the NSPCC did not originate the childhood cartoon Facebook campaign, we welcome the attention it has brought to the work we do."
"We’re concerned with the suggestion that pedophiles could use this successful viral campaign to target young people. This is not the case. This campaign has been taken up by thousands of people, none of whom can be identified as young or old by the character they pick for their profile image. 'People on Facebook often change their profile picture and whether it is to an image of a cartoon character or a photo with friends, it does not make you less safe on Facebook. We were pleased to note that the NSPCC, while not responsible for the campaign, have welcomed the attention it has brought to this important issue." said a spokesman for Facebook, the social network where the message originated.
With no legimate organization laying claim to the scheme, rumors have begun to run amok on the internet with claims that pedophiles, terrorists and even aliens might be behind the cryptic albeit viral weekend web sensation.