If there’s one thing K-pop fans know how to do exceptionally well, it’s mobilize for a good cause. While previously they’ve rallied behind their favorite artists — see the incredible might of the BTS ARMY — now, these stans are using their powers to commandeer racist, right-wing social media hashtags like #whitelivesmatter, #bluelivesmatter, and #MAGA.
On both Twitter and Instagram, K-pop fans have flooded the aforementioned tags with videos of their favorite K-pop groups (called fancams), GIFs, and memes. The barrage of these posts has, at least for a short time, effectively drowned out posts actually related to the hashtags, as seen in my screenshot above.
As The Verge points out, some extra diligent K-pop stans have targeted hashtags pertaining to very specific, local protests. Earlier this week, the Twitter account for the Kirkland, Washington police requested followers to utilize the #calminkirkland tag in order to submit information about riots and looting. That tag instead was buried in BTS videos.
If you ask me, I’ll take a K-pop heartthrob over a fascist Karen any day.
This type of virtual protesting has been taking hold on social media as more and more George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests sweep the country. Instagram user @sa.liine recently posted a handy guide on such methods, and it’s been widely shared by prominent musicians like Charli XCX.
“This made me think about how we’ve been using social media, we’ve been targeting our posts towards BLACK PEOPLE. Sharing trauma and stress to BLACK PEOPLE. Ranting and screaming to more BLACK PEOPLE,” @sa.liine explained. “So the question is how can we continue sharing but do it in an effective way? We have to think about our target audience (the oppressor) and where they hang out virtually. We have to use their hashtags to meet them virtually.”
K-pop fans co-opting social media was the next logical tactic after their successful takedown of the Dallas Police Department’s iWatch app last weekend. DPD intended to utilize the app to source user-submitted videos of “illegal activity from the protests.” Instead, K-pop stans inundated the app with K-pop content, forcing the DPD to shut off the app.
On Instagram, hacker group Anonymous praised K-pop fans’ work, writing, “Anonymous stans ALL KPop allies! HACK THE PLANET!”
Anonymous stans ALL KPop allies!
HACK THE PLANET!
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) June 3, 2020
— Laura Hudson (@laura_hudson) June 3, 2020
#WhiteLivesMatter LMAO I WAS READY TO INSULT THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYONE, THEN I SAW THAT K-POP STANS ARE DESTROYING THE# DAMN NEVER THOUGHT I'D BE THAT HAPPY SEEING K-POP FANCAM 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/lb3Vpob0Wa
— Benjamin 🇬🇭♉ (@YourMas78551251) June 3, 2020
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Tag a friend! I am not an activist, I don’t know much about politics but I am a designer. When designing we have to think about who our target audience is. Who are we designing for and why? . . This made me think about how we’ve been using social media, we’ve been targeting our posts towards BLACK PEOPLE. Sharing trauma and stress to BLACK PEOPLE. Ranting and screaming to more BLACK PEOPLE. . . So the question is how can we continue sharing but do it in an effective way? We have to think about our target audience (the oppressor) and where they hang out virtually. We have to use their hashtags to meet them virtually. . . Thank you so much to @clouddkenzie_ and @docangieluv for helping me to bring the idea of Virtual Protesting to life. . If you feel helpless this is a way to make some shake. My heart goes out to the people that are risking their lives in Minnesota. We may not be able to join them physically but we can join them virtually. #blacklivesmatter #blm