Cartoon Characters as Facebook Profile Pictures

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The Rugrats. Strawberry Shortcake. Jem and the Holograms. Mickey Mouse.

If cartoon characters are starting to replace your Facebook friends, take comfort. You're not alone.

The latest fad to go viral on the social networking site has users changing their profile pictures to images of their favorite childhood cartoon characters.

And judging from today's Google trends and Twitter traffic, Facebook users across the site are enjoying the animated walk down memory lane.

Earlier this morning, "cartoons from the 90s," "80s cartoons," "hong kong phooey," "care bear pictures" and plenty of other cartoon-related phrases dominated Google's list of hot searches.

On Facebook, images of the Flintstones, Thundercats, the Smurfs and other classic cartoon characters are taking over users' news feeds.

According to the trend-tracking website Know Your Meme, the cartoon fad started with Facebook users in Greece and Cyprus in mid-November.

Cartoon Message Says Campaign Is to Stop Violence Against Children

The site said the original message was in Greek and translated to "From the 16th to the 20th of November, we shall change our profile pictures to our favourite cartoon characters. The purpose of this game is to remove all photos of human for a few days from Facebook."

On November 19, All Facebook noticed a slightly different cartoon message sweeping the site.

"NewGame: Change your profile picture to your favorite cartoon from when you were a kid. The goal of this game is not to see a human picture on Facebook, but an invasion of childhood memories until Monday. PLAY AND PASS ALONG!"

Messages posted include a cause in the call to action.

"Change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday, Dec 6th of 2010, there should be no human faces on facebook, but an invasion of memories! This is for a campaign against violence on children."

The origin of this latest message is murky, but, as with most Facebook memes, that isn't stopping Facebook users from joining the online movement.

A Facebook group page called "Change your profile picture to a cartoon character campaign" has been "liked" by more than 10,000 people.

Another group called "Change your profile pic to a Cartoon or Comic book character" has been liked by more than 12,000 Facebook users.

Previous Facebook memes have asked users to replace their profile pictures with images of their celebrity doppelgangers and had women post the color of their bras to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Another recent viral campaign asked women to post suggestive status updates, such as "I like it on the floor" and "I like it on the kitchen counter." The messages referred to where women like to leave their purses and were intended to raise awareness about breast cancer.

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