Why ‘Baby Hitler’ is trending on Twitter

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NEW YORK– “Baby Hitler” took over the Twitterverse Friday afternoon.

The phrase went viral when the New York Times Magazine released the results of a quirky survey of readers.

“We asked @nytmag readers: If you could go back and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it? (What’s your response?)” the weekly publication tweeted.

An infographic (in the shape of a baby rattle) was attached to the post with a breakdown of the results.

A little more than 40% of people answered yes, while 30% said they would not kill the future dictator and author of the Holocaust. The remainder, 28%, said they weren’t sure.

Jake Silverstein, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, was surprised by the results.

“I thought more people would say they would,” Silverstein told CNNMoney on Friday.

“Baby Hitler” became one of the most mentioned topics on Twitter Friday afternoon.

The question was part of a recent survey of 3,000 subscribers, conducted by the publication’s research and analytics department.

Typically, that group is tasked with asking people about things like their household income and age, but Silverstein said he wanted to use them to ask questions that are “a little more offbeat, and peculiar and personal.”

“It’s a fun way to get a little more sense of who our readers are,” he said.

Every week, the magazine publishes one “Dear Reader” question from the survey and the results.

Previous ones include: Is it appropriate for parents to spank children? How much of the Bible have you read? Do you smoke marijuana? How many times have you been in love?

The Hitler question prompted the magazine’s biggest response, Silverstein said.

“I think that in recalling the slate of questions, that this is definitely the most ethically provocative of them,” he said.

The reactions on Twitter ranged from the ridiculous to the intense.