Facebook users search en masse for cartoon images for child welfare campaign

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Take a look at Google trends Saturday morning and you’ll get a sense of just how much Facebook influences what Americans are searching for.

Nearly every single one of the 20 most actively searched terms has to do with “old cartoons.” Folks, it seems, are looking up cartoon images for a viral campaign that’s gaining a lot of traction on Facebook: People are changing their profile picture to an old cartoon image (Foghorn Leghorn, Bugs Bunny, Captain Caveman, Hong Kong Phooey, etc.), apparently to raise awareness of violence against children.


The origins of the campaign itself are less clear -- there’s a Facebook page created by “an unnamed volunteer who aims to raise awareness about Worldwide Violence Against Children and Child Abuse,” but no actual website, no detailed information about the issues at hand, no way to donate money, and nothing about the history of the campaign.

As Mashable noted in a widely shared post about the campaign, National Child Abuse Prevention Month isn’t until April.

There have been a number of instances of Facebookers changing their profile pictures -- also sometimes called avatars -- to support a political cause. Last year many people dyed their profile shot green in support of Iranian protesters, and around that time some also “blacked out” their avatars to show solidarity with copyright activists in New Zealand.

Can anyone shed a little more light on how this campaign came to be, or will we have to chalk it up to a Facebook fad?

-- David Sarno