The Dee Kosh vs BTS saga reveals a larger issue at hand.
Mob mentality describes the way people behave and follow trends based on their circle of influence.
When mob mentality manifests on the Internet, people of the same opinion band together, flocking to posts they disagree with to make their stand known.
And it doesn’t help that social media only adds fuel to the fire.
On Oct 18, radio DJ Dee Kosh found himself at loggerheads with avid fans of Korean boyband BTS, after his latest “social experiment“.
While I do think that Dee Kosh could have shared his opinion without provoking the wrath of a fandom known to be fiercely protective of their idols, he has a point.
Mob mentality has been increasingly becoming prominent, making it risky for people to share unpopular opinions without being virtually attacked.
Two days after the incident, Dee Kosh explained in a video that it was a “social experiment” sparked by his observation of “mob mentality” on social media.
While there were fairly sensible comments on how Dee Kosh could have conducted the “social experiment” in a different manner, some fans took it too far, even wishing cancer upon him and starting a petition to “restrict Dee Kosh and his associations from being allowed near BTS in Singapore”.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are the perfect breeding ground for anonymous attacks and words that otherwise wouldn’t be said in a face-to-face confrontation.
When the late rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead in June 2018, throngs of fans paid tribute to him, Unfortunately, some fans harassed his former girlfriend who he was accused of abusing. His fans were quick to jump on the bandwagon, sending threats and hacking into her social media accounts.
Closer to home, when a group of young Singaporean girls introduced themselves in 2017 as ‘BEAUNITE: Singapore’s first K-pop girl group’, the girls were mocked and bashed virtually.
Memes were created to ridicule the young girls aged 13 to 17. The amount of harsh online hate was uncalled for, and social media made it easier for netizens to hop on the bandwagon.
When mob mentality is used to attack someone, it becomes problematic because individuals become so consumed with conforming to the social norms of the group they belong to.
All logic is thrown to the wind, with the angry mob wanting to watch the people with differing opinions get destroyed, or as the fandom culture puts it, ‘cancelled’.
Social media also creates an echo chamber where one can follow and read articles that are similar to their own, which only serves to reinforce their personal beliefs.
Accounts with large followings have the power to aggravate the situation because of their influence. Followers are quick to jump on the bandwagon (or Twitter threads) and engage in discourse with those of a different opinion.
It is nice to be in a fandom and find a community of people who share the same passion as us, but we should tread carefully when it comes to interacting with people of different opinions. We shouldn’t fall into the cesspool of comments so easily and be caught up with the online lynch mob.
It is also worth acknowledging that the ARMY fandom is massive, spanning across numerous countries and continuously growing. However, fandoms should not be defined by a handful of fans who vilify those with a different opinion.
There will be people who attempt to bait reactions from fans in order to provoke reactions and incite drama, to which I say, in the wise words of RM, “Haters gon’ hate.”
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