Protection or targeting? A new Facebook campaign brings out the best and worst of the Internet.

Protection or targeting? A new Facebook campaign brings out the best and worst of the Internet.

There are great ideas behind social causes and Facebook is a place where people can easily organize the cause of their choice with a viral push behind it. The latest, in case you haven’t noticed all of your friends turning into cartoon characters, is a campaign to raise awareness against child abuse.

The idea is simple — change your picture to draw attention to the fact of child abuse. It’s supposed to serve as a reminder with the hope that you’ll then donate to the child protection service or organization of your choice. However, it’s also on the Internet, which means that some people will be crying wolf:

TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THEIR PICTURES TO CARTOONS FOR NSPCC: IT WASNT FOR NSPCC, IT WAS FOR A GROUP OF PEADOPHILES WHO SET IT UP SO THAT CHILDREN WOULD ACCEPT FRIEND REQUESTS FASTER AS IT WAS A CARTOON PICTURE. THIS WAS ON AN INTERNET FRAUD PROGRAM AND THE NEWS TONIGHT. COPY AND PASTE AS YOUR STATUS TO LET EVERYONE KNOW

To us, the all-caps message looks like something that you’d see in a spammy, forwarded email promising you money for continuing to forward it. However, our investigation of the source behind the campaign leaves us a bit stumped. Though the NSPCC has backed the original campaign, there is no information about who started it or where it’s from.

Now that the rumor mill has started, others are fighting hard to spread whichever side they happen to believe. On the page for the campaign itself, messages such as this have been posted in reply to the rumors of foul play:

While we can verify that the page is full of links to child support groups and organizations, the rumors continue to fly. So, choose whichever side you feel is true, but do stop by and donate while you’re at it. Facing facts, cartoon characters as an avatar aren’t going to accomplish much in the way of financial help.

In the mean time, we’re continuing to dig around and find what we can about whomever started the movement. We’ll let you know what we stumble upon.

Read next: 10 Ways Journalists and the Media Use Twitter

Shh. Here's some distraction

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