Furry Fandom Site Bans All AI Art

Fur Affinity becomes one of a growing number of social art platforms that takes a stand against AI-generated artworks.
Screenshot via This Fursona Does Not Exist
Screenshot via This Fursona Does Not Exist

Art generated by machine learning algorithms and AI systems, like DALL-E and Stable Diffusion, are getting really good. An AI-generated piece won first place at the Colorado State Fair’s fine art competition this summer, and technologists are using artificial intelligence algorithms to expand classic artworks. The AI art scene even has its own folk legends and adult communities now.

But as the AI art game gets better and better, artist platforms are struggling with where to draw the line between “real” art, done by human hands, and AI art, done with a few text prompts, a dataset, and an algorithm. One of the first places to see this AI art takeover was Fur Affinity, a social art platform for the furry fandom. And now, Fur Affinity is one of the first to ban AI art from its platform.

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In a Sept. 5 policy update first spotted by journalist Andy Baio, Fur Affinity announced that artwork lacking “artistic merit,” which is banned from the site, now includes “submissions created through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) or similar image generators.”

This means accounts like the AI furry porn generator that churned out endless images vaguely resembling furry genitalia are no longer allowed on Fur Affinity.    

The update states: “AI and machine learning applications (DALL-E, Craiyon) sample other artists' work to create content. That content generated can reference hundreds, even thousands of pieces of work from other artists to create derivative images. Our goal is to support artists and their content. We don’t believe it’s in our community’s best interests to allow AI generated content on the site.”

The AI furry porn generator mentioned above scraped a different furry fandom art site, e621, for images to build the dataset that created the new images.

As Baio also noted, several social art gallery sites have taken a stand against this groundswell of AI-generated art by banning it outright: Inkblot, a new site that just launched in open beta, has a zero tolerance policy on AI artworks, and Newgrounds, a social site for sharing animations and art that’s been around since 1995, banned AI art from its Art Portal feed, specifically forbidding anything made with ​​Midjourney, DALL-E, CrAIyon (formerly DALL-E Mini) and ArtBreeder. 

Newgrounds makes interesting concessions to allow it elsewhere on the platform, like on one’s own blog, but not on the Art Portal, where a flood of AI art could drown out other works. It also asks users to differentiate between individual elements in a piece that are generated by AI, even if the entire work isn’t: “There are cases where some use of AI is ok, for example if you are primarily showcasing your character art but use an AI-generated background,” the platform’s art guidelines state. “In these cases, please note any elements where AI was used so that it is clear to users and moderators.”

It makes sense that a platform that caters to artists would want to avoid allowing AI-generative bots running rampant on their sites, burying everyone else. But as technology improves, people have always tried to define art, often using the method of creation as a means to differentiate worthwhile, capital-A Art from lower forms. Now, with terms of use and policy statements, platforms have a way to literally write the rules and decide what is and isn’t allowed to be seen as art.