As one does after most of a year in insolation with serotonin is in short supply, my roommate has gotten into Korean boy band, extreme GDP producer and probable psyop BTS. While waiting for their new album to drop on a livestream last night, she noted that people were posting to the chat at such a rapid pace that it made the entire screen flicker, threatening to crash YouTube’s infrastructure under the weight of thousands of rapid-fire “come to brazils“.
BTS’ official fan club, known as BTS Army, numbers some 40 million individuals. This means there are more officially registered fans of BTS than there are people in Saudi Arabia. It is an absolutely massive conglomeration that outstrips a number of key demographics in sheer size. So yes, BTS fans could easily band together and crash YouTube; they were certainly able to crash Trump’s online infrastructure earlier this year. The more I thought about it, the more it struck me: when it comes to groups united around a common cause or fandom, I can’t think of any other groups of this scale that aren’t registered political parties. For a fan club, Army has a massive amount of power. And after their forays into political activism surrounding the US presidential election, they’re starting to relish it.
So really, who needs to launch a DDoS attack or depose a wannabe dictator when you can just send Army to deal with it?