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A strange phenomenon is sweeping Facebook today: You may have seen your friends—at least the ones with the soul of a dank meme teen—putting “please do not swear on my profile thanks” on their profile pictures, and you may have wondered whether that’s a Thing now. It is.
The meme comes from the Facebook meme page Senate Salamander, and it exploits Facebook’s new-ish profile photo frame feature. Frames were originally meant for organizations and causes, but now that they’re rolling out to more pages, they can also be used for dank memes. Senate Salamander is at the vanguard of this emerging trend, and the “please do not swear” frame is their first real success.
Why “please do not swear,” though? Jack Salamanders, admin of Senate Salamander, told BuzzFeed he based it on this photoshopped hybrid of Family Guy characters Joe Swanson and Peter Griffin:
And that, in turn, was based on this January meme of an outraged tween insisting “please do not swear on my profile, thanks,” according to Know Your Meme. The catchphrase makes more sense when you imagine it coming from that one priggish kid in your high school freshman class who got genuinely offended by profanity. The photo frame is mostly ironic, though, a way to signify how few fucks you give about whether anyone swears in your Facebook comments.
Like any meme, though, it could certainly mutate into a sincere anti-meme. Some futurists have speculated about a “clean” generation of kids who will rebel against their parents by refusing to curse or get tattoos—see, e.g., Jennifer Egan’s 2010 novel A Visit from the Goon Squad—but that doesn’t seem to be happening in meme culture. Not yet, anyway.
The trend to watch here is more about Facebook photo frames as a meme transmission vector. Because they can be applied with one click, and Facebook will prompt you to add the same frames as your friends, these things can spread fast. Jack Salamanders understands this, and he’s released a bunch of other meme photo frames to capitalize on it. There’s a Pepe the Frog hand, the “See you space cowboy” tagline from the anime Cowboy Bebop, the Pacha meme from Emperor’s New Groove, and a few more.
Reminder I've got other frames out there and more waiting on approval; keep an eye out my dudes <3I'll also be releasing a video on my YT soon on how to create your own framesPosted by Senate Salamander on Saturday, March 25, 2017
He’s also planning to release a YouTube tutorial on how to make custom frames, which should only accelerate their meme potential.
Facebook may be mainstream and “for normies,” but frames give it a meme medium that no other site has, on top of perhaps the most efficient platform for viral joke transmission the Internet has ever seen. Facebook frames are going to be very big, very soon.
And they’ll probably be very annoying. Remember when Facebook was the simpler, cleaner alternative to MySpace, and everyone was confident that it would never have blinking animated GIFs or profile pictures tricked out with Blingee (R.I.P.)? Well, we’re on the road back to Blingee now, my friends, and it’s bound to be a dank ride.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.