Trend or Troll: The Damage Behind This Devastating Hashtag Going Viral

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As I was scrolling through my news on Twitter, I came across something I was shocked to see. It wasn’t about authors I read, or about what was happening with the Trump administration. It was a simple hashtag, overlooked by most, but completely horrifying to anyone who cares about animals. This hashtag, #PitBullDropOff, was gaining ground and it only highlighted long held misunderstandings about the pit-bull breed. However, as I scrolled through Twitterverse, I could not shake the feeling that the prejudice for the breed was still deeply imbeded in our society.

Trend Or Troll

Pit bulls are the target of a horrible hashtag on Twitter.

On May 3, 2018, the hashtag #PitBullDropOff dropped onto Twitter. In it, one user urged people to join a “growing wave of activists”. Their goal? To adopt as many pit bulls from Craigslist as they can.

However, the goal was not to save a life, it was to destroy it. After picking up the pit bull, “activists” were urged to take the dog to a high-kill shelter for it to be euthanized.

Twitter post that started the hashtag. ©Twitter

#PitBullDropOff was instantly noticed by animal and pit bull activists. In addition, the world of trolls picked up the thread and, suddenly, there was a glut of twitter posts about pit bulls being dropped at high kill shelters.

Nevertheless, as with many things we see on the internet, we were left wondering if this movement is real or if it is simply a way to ignite anger.

Of course, while we are unsure if people are following through, we do know that others have claimed it as a troll. The focus, as reported by an unknown user on 4chan, was to create a media-based mass hysteria.

Furthermore, this hysteria would create an atmosphere where “naive pitmommies and various other low IQ individuals are falling for the bait.”

While it seems like a cruel joke, #PitBullDropOff does illustrate a harmful prejudice. One that resides still in the public eye when it comes to pit bull breeds. In addition, it leaves one to wonder if trolls like #PitBullDropOff will exasperate matters for the breed. Will it further the misconceptions surrounding pit bulls? Will it feed into society’s irrational fears over pit bulls?

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