On Saturday, the Dallas Police Department posted a tweet telling people to send them videos from ongoing protests against police brutality via the iWatch Dallas app.
Instead, Twitter users are flooding the official snitching app with unrelated videos, memes, K-pop fancams, and even footage of the police themselves.
The U.S. is currently embroiled in widespread protests against police brutality and racism, sparked by the recent death of 46-year-old George Floyd. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after police handcuffed him and knelt on his neck for several minutes. Video footage of the incident shows police officer Derek Chauvin continued to pin Floyd to the ground despite his repeated cries that he couldn’t breathe, and refused to relent even after Floyd became unresponsive.
Floyd was just the latest of countless black people who have been needlessly victimised or died at the hands of police, prompting thousands to take to the streets in protest. However, rather than deescalating the situation, law enforcement have largely responded with increasing violence.
Numerous viral videos have captured police officers assaulting visibly peaceful civilians at these protests, as well as indiscriminately targeting journalists and bystanders without provocation. Not even people standing quietly on their own front porch are safe.
Twitter users have therefore responded to Dallas PD’s request for information by spamming the iWatch Dallas app with unrelated videos and encouraging others to do the same. The intent is that any information which could identify protesters will be buried by the flood.
Some people have been submitting media such as SpongeBob SquarePants memes and the Bee Movie script to the Dallas police’s app. Others have sent footage of police violence. However, by far the largest, most coordinated effort appears to have come from K-pop fans, who have no shortage of videos to spam the police with.
pigs are using this app to have people send in videos so they can identify those in protests. if we can swarm these pages, they won’t be able to find anything on anyone. how about we put our fancamming into good use and upload so many fancams it floods the app? pic.twitter.com/760nGHwmHZ
— lee hoseok knows acab 🐰 (@leehsk93) May 31, 2020
K-pop fans regularly post clips of their favorite artists on Twitter, even in response to completely unrelated tweets. However, many fans have recently stopped tweeting so zealously about their favorite groups, hoping to keep #BlackLivesMatter and related phrases trending instead. Now they’re using their collections of fancams to try to protect protesters and further help the cause.
It appears to be working, too. Dallas PD announced iWatch Dallas was temporarily down just one day after directing people to use the app, citing “technical difficulties.” Exactly what said difficulties were remains unclear, though many Twitter users have attributed it to K-pop fans’ coordinated spamming efforts. The Dallas Police Department’s website was also down at time of writing due to an overwhelmed server.
Mashable has contacted the Dallas Police Department for comment.
not Kpop stans having the Dallas police department app crash by spamming it with fancams lmfaooo
— HOOD VOGUE is tired of poverty (@itskeyon) June 1, 2020
If the police honestly expected this would end any other way then they’re even more out of touch than we thought.
UPDATE: June 2, 2020, 10:45 a.m. AEST It seems Kirkland police have learnt nothing from Dallas. On Monday afternoon, Kirkland PD requested people use the #calminkirkland hashtag on Twitter to give them information about the protests. The hashtag was already flooded with K-pop fancams mere hours later.
PSA: We are working with @kirklandgov for 911 calls related to public rioting or looting. Please use #calminkirkland if you would like to pass along important information. This twitter account is not 24/7 please call 911 if you are experiencing an emergency.
— Kirkland Police (@KirklandWAPD) June 1, 2020