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.
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.
If you have video of illegal activity from the protests and are trying to share it with @DallasPD, you can download it to our iWatch Dallas app. You can remain anonymous. @ChiefHallDPD @CityOfDallas
— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) May 31, 2020
guys download the app and fucking FLOOD that shit with fancams make it SO HARD for them to find anything besides our faves dancing https://t.co/zqjVHLWnZG
— allie 📌 #BLM, ACAB (@YGSHlT) May 31, 2020
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.
I never thought I’d see the day where kpop stans are defeating the police and I fucking love it
— suburban sue (@blom_dot_com) June 1, 2020
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.
Once again thank you kpop stans for drowning out the racists in #AllLivesMatter and #Whitelifematters wow iconic, legendary, might stream BTS now 🥴 pic.twitter.com/VFeF2fEIGf
— ♛ Bella ♛ (@rauhling_bizzle) June 4, 2020
Kpop fans are taking over M*GA and pro-police hashtags and crashing law enforcement snitch apps and it’s beautiful https://t.co/h2HzGj9MEx pic.twitter.com/uUPgHOu76W
— Laura Hudson (@laura_hudson) June 3, 2020
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.”
우리는 인종차별에 반대합니다.
우리는 폭력에 반대합니다.
나, 당신, 우리 모두는 존중받을 권리가 있습니다. 함께 하겠습니다.
We stand against racial discrimination.
We condemn violence.
You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) June 4, 2020
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.