Angelina Jolie has gushed about it, Oprah Winfrey has tweeted about it and it has been viewed more than 86 million times on YouTube.
But when Kony 2012 - a film calling for the capture of African warlord Joseph Kony - was shown to youngsters in northern Uganda, the overwhelming reaction was outrage.
The audience in Lira - where Kony's army has killed, raped and abducted children for two decades - hurled rocks and complained that the footage did not accurately reflect their lives.
Academics have also criticised it for being patronising and giving the misleading impression that the rebel chief - who leads The Lord's Resistance Army - is still active in northern Uganda. In fact, it was pushed out in 2006, and has been operating in the neighbouring states of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
As someone who has worked in northern Uganda, gathering stories from conflict survivors, I understand the critics' point perfectly. By glorifying the aid-givers and largely relegating the Ugandans as bystanders in their own story, Kony 2012 resurrects the spectre of the white man parachuting in to 'save' Africa.
But for all its ham-fistedness, I believe the film that has spread faster than any other online video to date and is due to have a sequel released this week, is overall a positive thing.
Not only has it raised awareness of the crisis among an audience of tens of millions, but it could also provide a prototype for other charities that want to harness the power of the Internet to tap into a fired-up young demographic.
That’s because, although we hate to admit it, there’s a big fat ‘I’ at the heart of activism. Being an activist makes you feel good about yourself and buzz with the euphoria of being a hero. For a charity appeal film to strike a chord with the masses, the mission must also feel urgent and achievable. Too often, otherwise compassionate people are turned off from engaging in issues affecting the developing world because the problems seem so complex and tangled.
In an era of Facebook and Twitter, where patience is scarce and individualism reigns supreme, this is what Kony 2012 has smashed through so successfully. The 30-minute clip is narrated by 33-year-old Jason Russell - co-founder of Invisible Children - and focuses on his personal mission to bring Kony to justice.
Viewers are urged to 'shape history' by getting a kit with wristbands and posters. The aim is to "make him famous" and ensure that the United States - which sent 100 military advisers to help hunt the warlord last October - cannot quietly drop the mission.
Last week, amid mounting criticism of the film, the African Union announced that it would deploy 5,000 troops to help the US troops in their mission. Although Francisco Madeira, the Union's special envoy, denied that the move was prompted by the Kony 2012 film, it's difficult to imagine that the powerful yet controversial campaign had no influence at all.
After all, Kony and his troops have been terrorising villagers in the Central African region for more than two decades but this is the first time that such an intense spotlight has been thrown upon their atrocities.
Capturing Kony is a noble and pressing cause. His group has abducted more than 30,000 children in Uganda and continues to massacre innocent civilians in neighbouring countries.
But my contact in the region told me the film was "not going down very well locally" and sent a statement from an inter-faith community group lambasting the clip's "sensational messages".
The irony is it that may have been precisely these elements which allowed Kony 2012 to leapfrog the usual staid and dusty NGO channels and mine the rich seam of dumbed-down Western youth culture.
Back in 2010, I was in northern Uganda as part of a team gathering testimonies from children who lost parents or siblings to the conflict. Their stories were featured in a DVD educating British pupils while encouraging them to fund-raise. The four films were told sensitively, through the voices of the Ugandan children and gave an accurate picture of the conflict.
How many YouTube hits did they get? Less than 1,000 between them. This illustrates how Kony 2012 has eclipsed other attempts by charities to harness social media.
Its meteoric rise has floored even its makers. A few weeks after the film became an internet sensation, Mr Russell was hospitalised after San Diego police found him naked and making sexual gestures in public. His wife said he is suffering from brief reactive psychosis caused by the clip's global attention. The sad episode is yet another example of how things take on a life of their own once launched into cyberspace.
Yet this flawed but well-meaning film has provided the first step towards opening up a new arena for activists seeking to reach a mass audience online. I hope the soon-to-be released Kony 2012 Part 2 will correct some of the more jarring aspects of the original – namely, the lack of historical facts and recognition of local people’s efforts to rehabilitate their communities.
Other charities say they can and should learn lessons from the campaign about how to attract a huge following so quickly. For example, Invisible Children is said to have tapped its established network of supporters on American campuses, which helped the film go viral.
I'd like to think that in future, the message could be made a little more sophisticated without diluting its appeal.
Insensitive? Yes, but Kony 2012 remains a force for good.