Furby: A More Controversial Toy Than You’d Expect

Furbies, the dolls that look like furry critters and talk back to you, are a little cute and a little creepy. After they became a fad in 1999, the National Security Agency considered them a security threat. The toys were banned from the agency’s Fort Meade offices because of the fear that they might record top-secret communication.

The National Security Agency did ban personal recording equipment at the time. They believed that the Furby fit into this category.

People who collect and love these dolls know that they don’t record what’s going on in the room around them. But the marketing suggested that the toys gradually learn English as you interact with them. This led agency officials to worry that they would also learn classified information.

However, Furby is not an infiltrator. While Furby may seem clever, it can’t interact with humans. The president of Tiger Electronics released a statement explaining that the toy doesn’t mimic or record anything.

Some people criticized the National Security Agency for failing to do comprehensive research before jumping the gun and banning the toy. Others wondered how many employees were actually bringing Furbies to work with them to trigger this rule in the first place.

That’s not the only controversy surrounding this toy. You may have heard that Furbies are made using fur from cats and dogs. A fabricated article was once disseminated about this topic. It indicated that the Humane Society had condemned the toy-makers for using such a cruel practice.

It turns out that a prankster had crafted an authentic-looking Humane Society press release and distributed it to major news outlets. The manufacturer had never used animal fur to create the dolls. The soft hair on the toys’ bodies is made from acrylic.