Sunday, December 5, 2010

Change Your Profile Picture to Cartoon Character - - Chidren Violence Paedophile Warning Hoax on Facebook

Beware! It's a Cyber World - - Summary:

Warning message circulating on popular social network, Facebook, states that a recent campaign asking people to change their profile picture to a cartoon character as a means of raising awareness about child violence is actually a scheme run by a paedophile group intended to make it more likely that children will accept their friend requests.  

In fact, the suggestion that the "cartoon character" profile picture change campaign is a paedophile plan is totally baseless and nonsense. The claims in the warning are false. Even though its exact origins are somewhat unknown, the campaign, which has gone viral on Facebook, is indeed intended to raise awareness about the issue of violence against children and has no sinister or hidden motives.

Let's have a glance to the message contents and how it actually looks on Facebook:
Everyone take off the cartoon pictures because the group asking everyone to change their profile picture to their favourite cartoon characters is actually a group of paedophiles. They're doing it because kids will accept their friend requests faster if they see a cartoon picture! It has nothing to do with a child violence campaign! Check the news tonight.

Copy and paste this on to your status

Beware! It's a Cyber World - - Explanation:

This rapidly popular Facebook warning message states that a recent campaign to raise awareness about child violence is actually an evil and sneaky plan started by a group of paedophiles. The campaign discussed in the warning, which has gone viral on Facebook, forces users to modify their profile picture to a cartoon character as a means of fighting against child violence. The warning suggests that this campaign is actually a cover for a paedophile group with a cause to make it more likely that children will accept their friend requests because their profile pictures feature cartoon characters.

However, the claims in the warning message are totally baseless and nonsense; therefore, certainly should not be taken seriously. These nonsense and ridiculous claims will be discussed in details in this post.

Before going further, however, let us look at the anti-violence campaign itself. Just about everyone currently active on Facebook will have noticed that a great many Facebook profile pictures have indeed been changed to cartoon characters during the last few days. These profile changes began sweeping across the network after messages like the following began circulating:

ALL FB USERS Change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until monday (Dec. 6) there should be no human faces on facebook, but an invasion of memories. FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD VIOLENCE

The exact origin of the campaign is currently unclear. Some reports indicate that the campaign may have started among Facebook users in Greece and Cypress. Since then, the campaign has taken the social network by storm and inspired a number of dedicated Facebook groups along the way. While the campaign does not appear to have been started by any specific child welfare group, at least one organization , the NSPCC, is now openly supporting the craze. The NSPCC asks users to show their support by donating money as well as by changing their profile picture.

Some have suggested that such campaigns are not particularly effective. However, it could be argued that such a high profile campaign might at least raise awareness about the plight of abused children and may also encourage more people to donate to child welfare causes or take a more active role in protecting vulnerable children within their communities. Regardless of its effectiveness, it seems clear that this campaign is motivated by a genuine desire to help.

Thus, the absurd claim that the campaign is actually some kind of front for paedophiles is all the more reprehensible. While even a hint of paedophile activity is understandably enough to raise fear and alarm, the level of paranoia on the subject exemplified by the rampant reposting of this warning message is concerning. It seems that people are simply not thinking this scenario through before reposting the message. There is simply no logic whatsoever to the claim put forward in the warning. If some sinister paedophile group was intent on luring children into their clutches by changing their profile pictures to child-friendly cartoon characters, the very last thing that they would desire is for the wider Facebook community to follow suit. Such an outcome would of course rob them of the perceived advantage that motivated them to change their picture in the first place. Therefore, the very last thing they would do is to encourage other (non- paedophile) users to also change their profile pictures by spreading around a viral message to that effect.

Some versions of the warning claim that various news outlets have confirmed the supposed paedophile connection to the anti-violence campaign. However, there are no credible news reports that support the absurd claims in the warning in any way whatsoever.

The circulation of false and malicious warnings about supposed paedophile activity seems to be a growing - and quite worrisome - trend on Facebook. Messages that have circulated over the last few months have not only warned about non-existent Facebook paedophile groups but have also gone as far as to name innocent people as suspected paedophiles.

So, in summary, if you feel that changing your profile picture to a cartoon character may help raise awareness of child violence, then by all means do so. However, please do not repost the scurrilous and totally unfounded claim that this well-meaning and innocuous anti-violence campaign is some sort of sinister paedophile plot. By reposting, you will be helping to perpetrate destructive misinformation that will help nobody. In fact, reposting such material is downright irresponsible.


Shalkita said...

since the exact origin is unknown, you can not honestly say it's NOT of sinister actions. I will continue to encourage people to post their actual photos, rather than using the cartoon character as their profile pic. Because it DOES encourage children to accept friend requests, in fact, my 15 yr old daughter and 13 yr old nephew have been getting strange friend requests recently, (over the last couple weeks) of people with cartoon characters as their profile pic. IF you don't know anything about what you are saying SAY NOTHING AT ALL!!!

Shalkita said...

and I really think it's pitiful that you must view and approve all comments... makes me believe you just might be one of the pedophiles searching for innocent children and now trying to "back your ass"

Facebook Cartoon Profile Pics said...

It is a popular trend in the last few days about changing your Facebook profile picture into a cartoon character. From the beginning of it, I doubted it and thought that there is something wrong with the campaign. How can you fight against child abuse by just changing your Facebook profile picture into a cartoon character image? Well, it will not help obviously unless you will donate or volunteer for the said cause.

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