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K-pop Stans Become Unexpected Online Vigilantes

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K-pop Stans Become Unexpected Online Vigilantes

Over the past couple of days, hashtags like #whiteoutwednesday, #whitelifematters, and #alllivesmatter have soared to the top of the trending list. Many users were shocked to see these hashtags rise to the top – until they clicked into them. After exploring the tags, it becomes clear that many of the posts are attempts to hijack the trend by an army of K-pop, or Korean pop music stans.

Stan culture is not new, and neither are “fancams,” the 30-second videos that K-pop stans create of their favorite singers dancing and singing. Many times, users share fancams on posts that have nothing to do with K-pop bands or music at all. In the past, it was an attempt to draw attention to groups like BTS, which is generally known as the world’s largest boyband. Lately, the posts have been made with no intent to draw attention, but instead to drown out the users planning to use the hashtags to make racist and vulgar posts in an attempt to discount the Black Lives Matter movement.

The beginning

It all started with a tweet from the Dallas Police Department in Texas, prompting readers to share any videos of illegal activity from the protests in town via the iWatch Dallas app. Twitter user @YGSHIT was among the first to make the call to other stans to “FLOOD” the app with fancams in order to overload the system and prevent/delay any investigation.

Less than 24 hours later, the app had crashed and the Dallas Police Department announced “technical difficulties,” later releasing a statement about a “temporary interruption in service.” While this was a victory for K-pop stans, it was only the beginning of their work. fan accounts with large followings began to target other upload portals, like those from the Grand Rapids Police Department and the FBI.

Stans Begin to Mobilize

After they had accomplished their goal of overrunning these portals with fan compiled videos, they resumed their work targetting popular Twitter hashtags. This time, however, they didn’t just reply to the top few posts, as usual. Instead, they completely dominated hashtags like #whitelifematters, making genuine posts hard, if not impossible, to find.

By early Wednesday, #WhiteLivesMatter was the third trending topic thanks to the work of these stan accounts. The trend continued as new tags emerged, spreading to Instagram on tags like #whiteoutwednesday. The effort did not go unnoticed, especially by BTS themselves, who tweeted “You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”

The band also announced that they were donating $1 million to Black Lives Matter. Fan-based charity “One In An ARMY” launched a fundraising campaign, using #MatchAMillion, with the goal of matching the band’s original donation. The group has now exceeded the original donation, according to the tracker on their website, which shows a total of $1,251,000 at the time this article was released.

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Ryan J
Ryan J , Executive Producer
Portland, OR He/Him

Ryan is a multi-hyphenate digital creative/creator and the founder of downinthepit. You can reach him at [email protected] #catchyouinthepit

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