I can't even tell you how much I hate them. They are exploitative, they are cruel, they allow people to gawk and then relieve themselves of guilt assuring themselves that they have love in their hearts as they press "like." You've all seen them, the most recent was a picture of a small child, with facial differences, looking up at the camera and smiling, and then the 'show me I'm beautiful' or 'no one will wish me a happy birthday, will you' or 'surround me in a circle of hugs.' I respond to each one of these simply stating, 'this is exploitation, stop it' and to my consternation, even that comment gets 'likes' from the poster of the image.
I wonder how many of the people who look at these pictures see, actually see, that most of the people within them, members of the disability community, are fucking smiling up at the person who is taking the picture. That's right smiling. They don't look desperately sad - although most of the viewers must think that they must be sad to be like that. And in an instant, those in the image are objectified, made unhuman, made different.
One wonders if the people who like the image would actually like the person in the picture, or even give them a chance. In the real world, people are prickly and demand respect, they are blood and tears and sweat and smells and challenging and unreservedly ungrateful for patronization. No, it's easier for the viewer to sit snug in their blankets and snugger still in their self-satisfaction and privilege. Oh, what it is to be the viewer, not the viewed.
The internet can be a cruel place. And it can allow cruelty to go unnoticed. The poster of the image gets to be the poster of the image. That means they've looked at the picture and seen something that isn't there - a need for anything from you, and instead seen something pathetic and pitiable and a lovely opportunity to munch on the realization, never spoken, that the like button has been weaponized to devalue someone different from you.