Colombian protesters have encountered an unusual ally on social media: fans of the k-pop (Korean popular music). Since the first days of demonstrations in the country, fans, mostly women, have spread information about the protests and filled with videos of k-pop the labels in networks in favor of the Government and that criticized the protesters, thus taking away space from their speech in networks.
Most of the tweets point to and condemn the police violence exerted on the protesters and seek to draw the attention of the international community as a form of pressure on the Colombian government. According to the Ombudsman’s Office, there are at least 27 deaths in the protests. Additionally, when government supporters created hashtags like #LaVozDeUribeSomosTodos or # VándalosAassinos to fuel hatred against protesters, fans were quick to fill them with videos and photos of their favorite Korean singers. The barrage of tweets has been such that the Twitter algorithm went from labeling labels as a political issue to musical / k-pop. In this way, they have managed to reduce the weight on Twitter of the government’s message, which has come to describe the protests as “urban terrorism.”RELATED
Accounts dedicated to k-pop, some with tens of thousands of followers, have put aside music to talk about the situation in Colombia and use their platform so that their message reaches as many people as possible, even translating it into other languages.
Fan groups have also organized to raise money to buy food, medicine and other necessary goods for those who are demonstrating. “From home we can help,” they say, “together we can do this and much more.”
Users denounced on May 5 a cut in internet access. Netblocks, an organization that monitors network access, confirmed the outage at service. While the protesters denounced censorship, the government and telecommunications companies assured that the fall was due to the damage caused during the protests.
This is not the first time that Korean pop fans have used their networks to fight for a social or political cause. Almost a year ago, when George Floyd was assassinated by Derek Chauvin, fans of the k-pop They went out of their way to disseminate information about what had happened, about the call for protests and about how to help, mainly through donations to citizen organizations. After BTS, one of the groups of k-pop best known, will announce a million dollar donation to Black Lives Matter, his fans matched that amount in just a few days.
Additionally, when the Dallas Police Department called for people to upload videos of “illegal protest activities” to its IWatch Dallas app, k-popers They responded by submitting videos of their favorite singers or groups. In less than 24 hours, the police deactivated the application due to “technical difficulties”.
Trump also suffered activism k-poper. Last June, at the president’s first rally after the pandemic, a large influx was expected after receiving more than a million requests for tickets, as announced by Trump’s team. The reality was quite different. Korean pop fans and young TikTok users came together to troll the president, reserving thousands of tickets and then skipping the rally. The result was that only 6,200 people turned out, according to figures from the Tulsa City Fire Department, for a pavilion that could accommodate up to 19,000.
In Spain, the best known action of the k-popers It was last June with a trolling action against Vox. They filled the responses to the tweets of the formation and its leaders with Korean pop videos, reviews and even photos and edited videos of Abascal with Korean music in the background. They also made a trend on Twitter #AbascalPrincesa and #FachaQueVeoFachaQueFanCameo to counter the messages of the extreme right.