Starting Tuesday, social media users showed support for the police brutality protests in cities across the country, posting blacked out images and using the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday. It was a small sign of solidarity, though some activists and observers criticized it as ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst. Still, since this is the Internet and the idea that black people shouldn’t be gunned down by cops is triggering for racists, a counter-campaign sprung up by Wednesday: #WhiteoutTuesday.
On Instagram and Twitter, people started posting images of completely white squares, along with the hashtag #WhiteoutTuesday and captions like “WHITE LIVES MATTER” and “Never apologize for who you are,”, a riff on “white pride.”
One of the main criticisms of #BlackoutTuesday was that if people flooded social media with posts tagged #BlackLivesMatter, then they would essentially be drowning out actual information and tips that organizers and protesters use to stay safe. Armed with that knowledge, one of the most active demographics online took aim at the day-late #WhiteoutTuesday hashtag. Once again, it’s Korean pop fans to the rescue.
K-pop fans started posting videos of band performances tagged #WhiteoutTuesday, and as of Wednesday morning searches for the hashtag turn up hundreds of such videos, as well pro-protest memes and messages of solidarity.
WhiteoutTuesday has so thoroughly drowned out that it never really got the chance start trending. With that in mind, some people started throwing in as many rightwing hashtags as they could: #AllLivesMatter, #Trump2020, even the president’s campaign slogan, #MAGA.
Searching the #MAGA hashtag on Wednesday morning turns up the expected rightwing memes, but now peppered among them are pictures of K-pop performers, blacked out squares, and some gay manga erotica.
This wasn’t the first time this week that Kpop stans used their powers for good. On Monday, the Dallas Police Department asked people to submit pictures and videos from protests to an app called iWatch Dallas, so that they can better track protesters. As The Verge reports, DPD had to announce a day later that “due to technical difficulties iWatch Dallas app will be down temporarily,” apparently overwhelmed with people loading clips of K-pop groups and Animal Crossing. The app was also flooded with one-star ratings in Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Many of those ratings included reviews that read “ACAB,” meaning “all cops are bastards.”