By Tyler Aquilina
June 03, 2020 at 05:26 PM EDT

K-pop fans have weaponized their formidable social media presence in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As protests continue nationwide in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, users are flooding both police departments and oppositional hashtags (#BlueLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatter, and #MAGA, for instance) with videos, GIFs, and memes of K-pop artists, in an attempt to protect protesters and to drown out racist tweets and posts.

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

The initial impetus came when, on Saturday, the Dallas Police Department called for Twitter users to send in "video of illegal activity from the protests" through a special app. Users quickly began submitting K-pop content to the app, which the DPD announced had crashed the following day. On the App Store, users also began submitting one-star reviews for the app en masse, driving down its average rating.

In subsequent days, users took the same tack with the Grand Rapids, Mich. police department, which had set up a portal for "picture or video evidence" of violent civil unrest, and with the Kirkland, Wash. police, who put out a call on Twitter for tips using the hashtag #calminkirkland. The Grand Rapids portal was shut down on Tuesday, and a Twitter search using the Kirkland hashtag now turns up K-pop content almost exclusively. K-pop fans also expanded their strategy to hashtags like #MAGA and #WhiteLivesMatter, dominating search results for these trends as well.

It's unclear how long this phenomenon can or will continue, but it's proven what many on the internet, and anyone who pays attention to music video statistics, already knew: the K-pop hive is a force to be reckoned with.

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
  • Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
  • Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.

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