American police are rioting nationwide as protests against police brutality following the the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis continue. Amid this, fans of Korean pop music are logging on to disrupt the online battlespace.
The latest volley involves fans posting K-pop videos and various blue animated characters under right-wing such as hashtags #bluelivesmatter, #alllivesmatter, #whitelivesmatter, and #MAGA, flooding them and disrupting the flow of racist and pro-police posts.
K-pop fans emerged as a force to be reckoned with earlier this week when they shut down the
Dallas Police’s iWatch Dallas App
. DPD asked the public to submit videos of alleged crimes committed during protests, and K-pop fans flooded the service with videos of Korean pop idols called fan-cams. After the flood started,
DPD took down the app citing “technical difficulties
Now the K-pop fans have turned their energy and follower counts, normally reserved for stanning, to making popular right-wing hashtags unusable. As first spotted by The Verge, K-pop fans have started posting memes en masse, and fan-cams are hitting Instagram and Twitter hard to out-post right-wing influencers. It’s working.
No hashtag or trending topic is safe as posters attempt digital sabotage. On Monday, the Kirkland, Washington police department told followers to “pass along important information” to the department using the #calminkirkland hashtag. The first reply is a lengthy meditation on the beauty of a bee in flight. Most of the rest are videos of K-pop stars and the hashtag, in general, is another place K-pop fans are flooding the cops with misinformation to make communicating impossible.
It's a well-known tactic that part of winning a fight against an oppressor is controlling communications. The easiest and cheapest way to disrupt a rival’s communication system is to flood it with noise. That’s what K-pop fans are doing on social media, but protestors are also deploying the tactic in the field. In Chicago, people jammed the police scanner over the weekend by playing the classic song of the early internet “Chocolate Rain.”
Social media may seem like small stuff in comparison, but the devotion of the K-pop fans is a sign of how widespread and unifying the protests against police violence have become.