The baby social media invasion is an insidious process that starts slowly with the introduction of a single cherubic visage on a Facebook profile. But do not be deceived. While seemingly innocuous, this toothless, smiling bundle of joy serves as a warning of the cuteness overlord that's will strangle adult interaction out of your timeline as scores of your friends follow suit and also start sharing a disconcerting number of snapshots of their newborns.
Given how familiar this experience is to those in their 20s and 30s, condom-manufacturer Durex has launched a Google Chrome extension called 'babies to babes', via Contagion, that replaces all the babies on a Facebook profile with pictures of attractive men or women (users toggle their preference).
Launched to coincide with World Singles' Day on 11 November, the quirky Chrome extension is free and available for download now at Chrome Extension Store.
Bridget Taylor, the executive creative director at Contagion, says that the campaign is being hosted on Facebook to take advantage of Durex's audience on the social media site.
“Durex has the second-most engaged fan base in the country on Facebook," says Taylor. "We saw World Singles’ Day as a fun opportunity to give our Facebook fans something they might appreciate while they’re scrolling their newsfeeds.”
And Durex isn't the first company to offer this form of reprieve to Facebookers. In 2012, Manhattan-based copywriter Chris Baker developed unbaby.me, a Google Chrome extension that replaces all baby pics on Facebook with inane cat images.
More recently, the 'Hey Girl' Google Chrome extension took this even further by replacing every image that a user encounters on the internet with one featuring Ryan Gosling (image credit: Huffington Post).
If Gosling isn't really to your tastes, then you can always opt for nCage, which substitutes every image in your web browser with a snapshot of over-acting specialist Nicolas Cage.
And Kiwis have also gotten in on the image-replacement action with an extension called Ferald, which replaces all the article images on nzherald.co.nz and stuff.co.nz with an illustration of the illustrious Grumpy Cat.
The message from the developers, Ludwig Wendzich and Su Yin Khoo, is quite simple: none of the stories are worth reading. This may be a bit harsh to our friends at the two publications, but it's hard to argue with Grumpy Cat (he is after all a cat).