Furry fandom is a place known for social friendliness … or is it?
Recently, furries are starting to speak up about bullying in the fandom. Rumour spreading, then status-chasing.
These are the keywords in recent furry Twitter posts. But this is not new.
In many online discourse, furries treated unclarified assumptions as if they were facts. Misinformation, rather than verified facts are thus spread.
Some took it so far, it amounted to stalking and harrassment – a crime itself.
On another point, furries have been making posts online publicly shaming others for their perceived negative interpersonal behaviours.
These “callout posts”, are getting more criticism. Furries keep justifying it is to “keep people safe from bad actors.”
But critics worry actual bad actors may use this to purposely smear someone for their personal gains.
Which on the internet, it is hard to tell if one is either sincere or malicious. One furry says such callout posts breeds mistrust and division than helping.
Bullying in the fandom is also insidious.
Another Twitter furry reported, apart from the fandom’s rumour and online witch-hunt problem, they got bullied over their autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Furry fandom popularly stands for persons with mental health needs and disabilities. But when the same fandom can bully someone over something they claim to protect, how ironic?
There are furries who say this spate of bullying comes from social statuses gained from high follower counts online.
Because these furries are popular, also called “popufurs”, they have an edge in influencing the community.
Furries expressed concern that popular figures may use their influence.
Another Twitter user also said, the (furry) fandom they joined in 2008 was “built on charity and inclusivity, not private social circles and popularity”.
That reflects a growing resentment against furries focusing too much on follower counts to measure self-worth and their status in the community, plus as a means of “competition.”
Some Twitter users even reported some people used these counts as a “condition” for social interaction.
To more and more furries, bullying in the furry fandom is becoming a bigger problem. Especially a 2022 GFTV study found if furries bully, they cyberbully.
Today is a time when unclarified claims easily blow out of proportion. It ruins people’s mental health, even causing them to take their own lives.
Such, and other types of bullying, has long been prevalent in the furry fandom.
Toward this, one furry remarked they missed the “old” furry fandom, suggesting it was less volatile than today.
Another furry remarked they now fear the furry culture as a result.
To fight against bullying, it will take community action to start righting the wrongs as much as they can.
But the “bullying” here seems to be a long-standing constellation of how the community manages discourse, and for some reason, ironic expectations.
At least, notoriously, on Twitter.
Solving this thus call for a deep review and action on the community level. But whether that review will ever be done, only time will tell.
Edit 15/2/2023 9:11am UTC+8: Article partially published due to technical error. Added missing parts