K-pop stans take over racist hashtags on Twitter

They've stepped up their presence online.

Andrew Morse Queenie Wong
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Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
2 min read

K-pop boy band BTS visit New York in February.

Getty Images

K-pop stars have been enlisted to battle racism on Twitter

On Wednesday, fans of Korean pop music flooded the social network with GIFs and video clips of their favorite performers in an attempt to drown out two racist hashtags that had been created in response to Tuesday's #BlackLivesMatters and #BlackOutTuesday.

"Maybe if y'all stanned bts rather than being racists," @uriOne tweeted, using slang for extreme fandom and referencing one of South Korea's most popular groups. The tweet included a clip of the group dancing, as well as the hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter.

Other Twitter users posted photos of bottles of Wite Out correction fluid, a fixture in offices around the world, to flood another racist hashtag, #WhiteOutWednesday.

"Since it's #whiteoutwednesday what's your favorite type of witeout?" asked user @_quizzle__ above a photo of two versions of the Bic product. Quizzle also identified herself as a "Kpop multi stan."

The spontaneous effort to disrupt racist comments on Twitter came after an overnight effort that appears to have originated on the 4chan message board to post white squares "all over social media," a reference to black squares used during the Blackout Tuesday movement. Some users posted white squares to Twitter.  By early Wednesday, #WhiteLivesMatter was the third-most trending hashtag in the US, in part because of the rush of K-pop fans to commandeer it.

BTS, one of the most popular K-pop groups, appeared to endorse fan efforts to disrupt the racist messages, tweeting, "We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together." The message, which was in Korean followed by English, carried the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

Twitter has rules against promoting violence or directly attacking people based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other characteristics. The company also doesn't allow users to post hateful imagery including the Nazi swastika. Twitter may prevent certain content from trending if it incites hate.

The company didn't respond to a request for comment.

The popularity of the racist hashtags appeared to enrage many Twitter users. Photos of all-white automobiles and home decor, along with tweets expressing general disgust for the effort were posted to overwhelm the hashtags, phrases used on social media to tie related posts from different users into a stream. 

Still, it was the K-pop fancam videos that dominated. K-pop fans also took to Instagram to drown out racist posts, and some of the top posts using #WhiteLivesMatter and #whiteoutwednesday included videos of members from BTS and NCT Dream. 

"Kpop stans on our way to take over the #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag," tweeted user @desirexxii.

@fantasfico tweeted pride in "kpop stans ruining every white supremacist hashtag. i truly love to see it."

"whiteout wednesday is garbage, but we can improve it with kpop ♡" tweeted user @danielamonsua.

@pardonyoongi expressed joy at the K-pop fans' success, tweeting"#whiteoutwednesday we did it. its under kpop now."

"I will never bash a k-pop stan ever again," tweeted user @lizconnorss. "They've taken over the #WhiteLivesMatter and #whiteoutwedneday."