US grave joke turn viral on Facebook

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What started out as joke between two American women clowning around in a photo posted on Facebook, quickly turned into a viral volcano.

Lindsey Stone, 30, posted a photo taken by her co-worker Jamie Schuh, 38, at one of the most solemn places at Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

In the photo, Stone is holding up her middle finger and pretending that she is shouting loudly next to a sign calling for ‘silence and respect’ in the military cemetery.

The photo was first posted on Stone's Facebook page, but it went viral and a Facebook page called ‘Fire Lindsey Stone’ was soon created. The page gained more than 16,000 ‘likes’ and attracted a firestorm of attention both in the US and abroad.

On Wednesday, both women were placed on unpaid leave from their jobs at a home for the disabled in the state of Massachusetts, according to media reports.

While Stone and Schuh maintain they posted the photo as a joke, their employers and families seemed to find little humour in the situation.

"Before social media hit it big, embarrassing pictures and comments could be shared between friends without too much fear that the public would ever see or hear," said attorney James Yu in an article for the Contra Costa Lawyer website.

"Media outlets like Facebook make it much easier for what might have once been a private post among friends, to be rapidly shared for public consumption," he added.

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