How K-Pop Fans and TikTokers Trolled Trump Before the Tulsa Rally
Recently, K-pop stans have been using their giant fan base to spread political influence online. After President Donald J. Trump’s campaign rally in June 2020, many reporters and onlookers noted that his venue wasn’t quite full. Now, K-pop fans and TikTok influencers are taking partial credit for Trump’s turnout.
Fans of Korean pop stars and groups say they inflated the Trump 2020 campaign’s expectations for the Oklahoma rally
The New York Times recently reported on President Trump’s June 20, 2020, rally, held in Tulsa, OK.
Spokespeople for the President’s campaign blamed counter-demonstrators for preventing Trump’s fans from getting into the arena. Yet Twitter users and reporters on the scene noted that the “19,000-seat capacity” venue had several empty seats, and “few protests.”
Now, TikTok creators and K-pop stans (fervent fans of Korean pop music groups) are taking credit for those empty seats — or at least for breaking the Trump team’s expectations.
The social media activists (mostly young people on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter) “claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank.”
How? First, they used publicly available information to troll the rally’s ticket counts.
The President’s campaign Twitter account tweeted out a message to their supporters, letting them know “to register for free tickets using their phones.”
Soon, “K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.”
Sure enough, some of Trump’s team posted tweets predicting up to a million people expected (based on those registrations).
What that could mean for Trump? High expectations, with disappointing results.
Trump’s Tulsa rally is one of many recent examples of K-pop Twitter stepping up for political causes
This is not the first time that fans of Korean pop groups like BTS and TWICE have used their influence on social media platforms to sway politics.
In June of this year, “the Dallas Police Department asked citizens to submit videos of suspicious or illegal activity through a dedicated app.” K-pop stans flooded the app with their “fancam” videos, blocking out any other information. In a politically changing atmosphere, in which people are discussing defunding the police, this was a decided and powerful showing up for the Black Lives Matter movement. The New York Times continued on K-pop Twitter:
They also reclaimed the #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag in May, by spamming it with endless K-pop videos, in hopes to make it harder for white supremacists and sympathizers to find one another and communicate their messaging.
The idea to troll Trump’s rally “quickly spread on TikTok,” and Twitter, too. However, the creators who — became political influencers seemingly overnight — thought ahead.
“Many users deleted their posts after 24 to 48 hours in order to conceal their plan and keep it from spreading into the mainstream internet,” the Times reported.
TikTok users and BTS stans banded together to raise expectations for the President’s June 20 rally
However, headlines about “TikTok teens” ruining President Trump’s rally are missing a key piece of information. One of the creators of the grassroots movement is in fact a Boomer from the Midwest. The New York Times again:
Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old from Fort Dodge, Iowa, said she had been watching black TikTok users express their frustration about Mr. Trump’s hosting his rally on Juneteenth, the holiday on June 19. (The rally was later moved to June 20.) She ‘vented’ her own anger in a late-night TikTok video on June 11 — and provided a call to action.
But she had no idea the TikTok would take off as it did.
With the help of the K-pop stans, the teens (and 50-somethings in Iowa) changed the game. They proved what is possible with social media.
K-pop and TikTok’s Trump scam trends on Twitter
Even if the crowd at Trump’s Tulsa rally had nothing to do with K-pop fans or TikTok creators, it certainly made a statement; it seems like it’s what everyone is talking about on Twitter.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York was one of those tweeters, writing: “you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign with fake ticket reservations.”
Laupp told the Times that her video got over 2 million views on TikTok and credits the video for around “17,000 tickets … based on comments she received on her TikTok videos.” The TikTok-er received messages that “tens of thousands more had been reserved.”
Still, the 51-year-old thanked the Gen Z-ers.
“There are teenagers in this country who participated in this little no-show protest, who believe that they can have an impact in their country in the political system even though they’re not old enough to vote right now,” Laupp said.