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Why Do Celebrities Keep Getting Fake “Canceled” on Twitter?

Honestly, seeing #TomHollandIsOverParty trending hurt my soul.

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home

If you’ve been on Twitter in the last month, you’ve probably seen the likes of Shawn Mendes, Timothée Chalamet, Harry Styles, Tom Holland, and more being “canceled”—or, at least, there is some hashtag party happening because they are “over.” The truth is, the first few times it happened, I was worried that these boys were just taking quarantine and going off.

But no, instead, it’s just fans on Twitter “canceling” these men so that they can share fancams of their own faces. Originating from K-Pop fans, usually singling out a specific band member during a performance, these “fancam” videos are meant to be a fun and thirsty way of honoring your favorite performer. As Refinery 29 points out, they were then adopted by celebrity fans on Twitter to help promote the people they love, with fun songs and effects.

So where the issue lies now is that fancams are being used as a way of promoting faves on stan Twitter by reposting the videos ad nauseam in unrelated conversations, sometimes including hashtags created for the sole purpose of drawing attention through fake controversy. You can even find tutorials out there on how to repost a Twitter video multiple times with the same view counter, so stans can accurately keep track of how much they’ve managed to push a single video.

Stan Twitter, at its core, is filled with fans (both young and older) who love specific celebrities and dedicate their accounts to them. They exist on other social media platforms as well, but the idea is that your bag is all about a specific performer, or sometimes multiple people, but it’s not the user’s personal account. (That’s typically left in the bio for them to try to get cross-followers.)

While the fancams started as a way of stans talking about their faves, they have started to morph into a trend of using whatever hashtag they can to get people to see their fancams and their faves, and that’s where we end up in questionable territory.

It’s become an almost constant trend of people being thrown under the proverbial bus so that fancams can be promoted, which you may have noticed in the form of #[celebrity]IsOverParty hashtags. Basically, these hashtags are designed to look like something you might see when a (typically white, male) celebrity has done something awful, but they’re just there to use the appearance of such controversy around big, unsuspecting names to lure people into a fancam bait and switch.

It takes away from the effect when someone actually does do something wrong and needs to be spoken about—especially because, even then, we can wind up lost in a sea of fancams and have to Google what happened, since Twitter is apparently just there to promote whatever performer the stans love, as though Twitter needed any help being a less useful tool for public discourse.

And even then … is this actually working to promote anyone? I’m not going to look up some performer just because a fancam was sent to me in a hashtag about how Donald Trump is racist. Like yeah, I know he’s racist, but even if it tricks me into looking at them, it’s not going to actually get me interested in your fancams of Steve Buscemi. (Would love fancams of Steve Buscemi, though.)

Anyway, lots of Tom Holland fans (myself included) reached the breaking point with this situation and filled the weekend’s #TomHollandIsOverParty with tweets about how the fancam situation was getting out of hand.

Interestingly, the person who supposedly started the Tom Holland edition of this trend got suspended from Twitter, so maybe there is hope yet.

I suppose the whole thing could be against Twitter’s rules of targeted harassment, but with Twitter’s spotty record on regulating how its social network is used, who really knows why the account got suspended?

All of this brings me back to the days of fanvids on YouTube, long before we had stan Twitter or dedicated our time to fancams. They were, essentially, the same thing, but just for shows and couples, and now that we’re focusing on real-life people, it gets a bit dicey—especially when unrelated people get dragged through the mud just for the appearance of controversy.

Do I think fancams should stop? No, absolutely not. I like watching them. They’re fun! But when you start using “cancel culture” as a way of benefiting you and your fave, you then dismiss those events where people should be called out and experience repercussions. It’s hard enough to get such legitimate complaints taken seriously without people making a joke out of the entire concept of bringing bad behavior to light.

Maybe instead, we can all organize some kind of fancam parade or something to all see the hard work fans put in without putting others’ faves down? I don’t know, I’m now an older person when it comes to this stuff, but there has to be a better way of going about this.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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She/Her. A writer who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.