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K-Pop Fans Have Been Vanquishing Racist Hashtags and Police Apps

You love to see it

K-pop fans flood racist hashtags

K-pop has become a global phenomenon, and fans of the Korean supergroups and artists are known for their ardent devotion. That dedication has lately been used as a force of chaotic good, as veritable armies out of fandom flood racist hashtags with images of their favorites, and dismantle police snitching apps with a tide of fancams. Who had “K-pop fans go to war online in service of Black Lives Matter” on their 2020 bingo card?

The K-pop-fueled anti-racist activism went viral after the Dallas Police Department directed people to their “iWatch” snitch app, saying that was the place where residents could anonymously upload video of “illegal activity.” K-pop fans had an idea, and boy, did they ever dance away with it.

After this call to fancam arms and others like it exploded in popularity, K-pop fans succeeded in bringing down the police app.

Twitter has delighted in supporting this unexpected turn of events.

K-pop fans, buoyed by their success, weren’t about to stop there. Today they have successfully bombarded hashtags like #whiteoutwednesday, #whitelivesmatter, and #bluelivesmatter, cynical attempts by racists and trolls (the two are not mutually exclusive) to mirror popular hashtags related to Black Lives Matter. In place of “white lives matter” posts, we encounter dancing and singing Korean superstars. You love to see it, folks.

And since K-pop fans are a worldwide force, their action isn’t limited to Americans or American-based hashtags.

Flooding hashtags with content isn’t a new tactic to shift its focus, but in the past, this has generally been a troll endeavor organized by the likes of 4chan. When I worked in social media pre-2016, there were regular “raids” wherein trolls would attack tags like #lgbtq, #socialjustice, and popular fandom tags with disgusting image content like gore, animal abuse, sexual assault, and horror. These “raids” were intended to shock and traumatize people for “lulz.”

K-pop fans have turned this concept on its head, using perfectly innocent content that they have in abundance—videos, gifs, images, and memes about their favorite K-pop idols—to disrupt negative tags in service of anti-racism.

Watching fans band together in a unique form of activism that only makes sense in the dystopian hellscape of 2020 has been a joy. More efforts from fandom like this.

(image: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM, Twitter)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.