Today I am revealing my secret on how I was able to find your FurAffinity account!
That's right! I know all your secrets. Well, that's not true, but let's just pretend for a bit.
As you know, in the information age, we are all getting data collected off of us. There exist computers out there that basically know who we are, what we want in life, how we feel, etc. Ad networks often use this data to target their ads to each one of us, in hopes we actually click on them more often.
Although one wouldn't think that every single piece of information is valuable, it's actually quite the opposite. Data can and is often used to de-anonymise users on the internet. No one's safe anymore! This includes you and your FurAffinity account!
For the outsiders who have no clue what FurAffinity is, it basically is an art gallery for furries and their art. The site has a system similar to other social media sites where you can follow other users and find their art easily. FurAffinity calls this system "watching" and "watchers", instead of the usual "following" and "followers".
Unlike other social media, the watchers list is public and cannot be hidden, even with a locked down account, at the time of writing, which means that anyone can see who you are watching, and who is watching you.
This is where the fun begins.
How I found your FurAffinity account
In order for me to find your FurAffinity account, I had to do a bit of digging. I had to find out what you were interested in. How so, you may ask? By just asking you, of course! This is a little game after all.
I asked you a list of a few artists you watched on the platform, and like the good little furry you are, you gave me a list of 9 of them. For this game, you were a good sport and didn't try to troll me by throwing red herrings at me. (Which I do appreciate, thank you.)
I then took the list of artists you gave me then looked them up on FurAffinity to find everyone's watchers. In total, I found 44.7k unique usernames that were watching at least one of the artists you gave me. It's not that many people if we think about it, but it's a good start since you're there somewhere!
After that, I took every list of watchers and computed the intersection of them all. This in turn gave me a list of 37 usernames that were watching all the artists you gave me. Turns out that none of us is unique, and that we are not special!
Well, I still had to find out which one of those 37 usernames was yours.
And to be honest, I was stuck for a while. I didn't know what to do to narrow it down even further.
Then I had a brilliant idea! You see, you had told me some time earlier that you had locked down your account, thus hiding the list of your favourite posts.
This in itself doesn't sound like a huge deal, but it actually is. When it comes to being anonymous on the internet, you have to be careful not to stand out of the crowd too much. And by hiding your favourite posts, you were doing just that!
I took the list of 37 usernames and looked them up on FurAffinity, this time checking their favourite posts. Then, I found that 3 of them had hidden their favourite posts, and that 34 of them had not.
The scope has been locked in!
I was then for sure one of those 3 usernames had to be yours.
Since this was a game, I decided to just ask you whether the first letter of your username was present in the list of the 3 usernames. You then told me the first letter of your username, of which there was only one username that started with that letter.
And that's how I found your FurAffinity account!
Be careful out there if your goal is to be anonymous on the internet. This was a fun game I played with a friend, but correlating data from different sources is used to find out who we are.
I hope you enjoyed this little story, and try not to stand out too much!