Korean pop-music fans have hijacked hashtags such as #BlueLivesMatter and #MAGA in response to the growing unrest in the United States.
A quick browse of Twitter and Instagram reveals that, when searching for hashtags such as #BlueLivesMatter (that of the countermovement advocating that those convicted of killing a law-enforcement officer be sentenced under hate-crime statutes) or #MAGA (‘Make America Great Again’, the slogan popularized by the Trump campaign in 2016), the most recent posts show completely unrelated content. The content posted on Instagram, for instance, relates instead to K-pop stars or includes images that reference #BlackLivesMatter or the Blackout Tuesday initiative, whereby social-media users were encouraged to post a black square to show their support for the protests. The hashtag hijackings were prompted by the Dallas Police Department asking the public earlier this week to help it identify rioters.The police took to Twitter to ask for videos of “illegal activity from the protests” to be sent to a dedicated app, iWatch Dallas. However, within 24 hours, it had tweeted again to say that, “due to technical difficulties, the iWatch Dallas app will be down temporarily.”According to Buzzfeed News, an array of low-star reviews appeared on the app’s landing page on both Google’s and Apple’s app marketplaces. The reviews were accompanied by comments ranging from ‘Black Lives Matter’ to abbreviations such as ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards). It’s unclear whether the app collapsed due to traffic or was rendered unusable by the attack, but since then, K-pop fans have continued to troll police accounts across the country. The police force in Kirkland, WA, for example, asked its followers on Monday to use the hashtag #calminkirkland to relay information about “rioting or looting”. The response? You guessed it: more K-Pop.The K-pop hashtag hijack comes as the US has found itself gripped by widespread civil unrest, the Black Lives Matter movement having regained momentum following the death of the African American George Floyd at the hands of the police. Floyd was choked to death by an officer during his arrest in Minneapolis last week. An independent autopsy confirmed that his death was as a result of asphyxiation.
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