Taylor Swift fans bombarding Netflix stars is the stan Twitter norm

On March 1, Taylor Swift published a tweet slamming a joke in an episode of Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia, a joke made at her cost. Twelve hours and half a million likes later on, the basic belief about the remark was that Swift remained in the right for calling out an exhausted and misogynistic joke. Which might have been completion of that, other than that Taylor Swift’s fans reside on stan Twitter, and belong to an increasing pattern in utilizing social networks to secure star favorites and attack anybody putting down the stars.

Every day on the web, brand-new micro-trends emerge, just to end up being old news 5 minutes later on. In Polygon’s brand-new series The Next Generation of Whatever, we’re taking a look at what’s exploding on the planets and fandoms we follow, and what the current shifts state about where Incredibly Online life is going next.

In this case, the item of Swifties’ anger wasn’t Ginny & Georgia developer Sarah Lampert or any of the executive manufacturers on the program. Even the authors didn’t capture that smoke from Swift’s righteously mad fandom. Rather of pursuing anybody with significant power over the future of the program, Swifties turned the majority of their anger towards 24-year-old Antonia Gentry, who plays Ginny. They’ve responded numerous times to Netflix’s Instagram and Twitter posts, along with to Gentry’s individual accounts, informing her (and in some cases, bizarrely, the real character) to say sorry. The style throughout the remarks is the exact same: Taylor Swift has actually been hurt, and it’s Gentry’s fault. While Gentry is accountable, in part, for the commonly panned “Oppression Olympics” clip that went viral on social networks last month, she is not accountable for the words her character states throughout the remainder of the series.

I’ve stumbled upon individuals spamming the remarks of her social networks posts, informing Gentry to “respect Taylor Swift.” Individuals are implicating Gentry straight of misogyny and informing others not to see Ginny & Georgia. A couple of have actually made overtly racist tweets. Despite the fact that Gentry isn’t credited as an author, numerous individuals are requiring that she take duty for the single “joke” on the program that they disagree with. Sustained by Taylor Swift’s public inconvenience, these fans — and giants pretending to be fans — feel empowered to act strongly in order to secure Swift’s track record. This is a typical day on stan Twitter, where anything goes to secure the item of fans’ parasocial relationships.

Parasocial relationships are psychological accessories to media figures, from blog writers and reporters to YouTubers and political leaders, that kind over a long time period and include duplicated engagement with the figure or their work. We tend to think of parasocial relationships in terms of how fans behave toward the celebrity they’re fixated on — in the case of Real Person Fic (RPF), boundary-crossing exchanges on social media, and even the extreme cases of fans stalking their celebrity favorite. The assumption is that stanning is an expression of hardcore love of celebrities. And while it may start from a positive place, that fandom can and does go far in the opposite direction.

In Swifties’ targeted response to Gentry, as well as their reaction to this tweet about Ashley Reese’s Jezebel essay (to say nothing of their harassment of a reviewer last July after Folkore’s release), we’re seeing the other side of the stan coin: The fixation that drives fans to cross boundaries with a celebrity they claim to love can also be aimed at detractors as weaponized vitriol.

Stan Twitter can come together to express care — you can see that in the responses to Azealia Banks’ concerning social media posts last year — but so often today we see fans choosing aggression in response to any perceived threat against their fave. Take the practice of “clearing the searches,” a stan Twitter practice to stop certain topics from trending when people search for celebrity names during a scandal. However, fans don’t just spam topics on their own. If a celebrity’s mental health is in a fragile state because of a reviewer or a producer, fans will flood the mentions of the “perpetrator” with set phrases (e.g., “Doja Cat funny,” “Han best rapper”) coupled with aggressive memes, insults, or even threats. One of the motivations behind all of this is the fear is that if the searches aren’t cleared, the celebrity will see themselves trending with negative words (e.g., “bullying,” “racist”).

Report accounts are social media accounts created by fans to report people who may be harmful to a given celebrity, both to Twitter and to the celebrity’s management via a dedicated email. These accounts can be for an entire group, for individual artists or members of a group, or for an actor in a show or film. The follower counts can range from a mere 300 followers to over 30,000. All seven members of K-pop group BTS have multiple report accounts in their orbit — and that’s to say nothing of the ones dedicated to the group as a whole. Notable report accounts have sprung up for everyone from GOT7 rapper Jackson Wang to the young women of Blackpink and Twice.

Fans who follow report accounts get detailed explanations, or even templates, of what kinds of emails to write to the idols’ management. They’re also told how to effectively mass-report tweets to get users suspended. If the issue is with a public figure (like what we saw with the racism aimed at BTS from German radio host Matthias Matuschik at the end of February), fans are aimed in the direction of their management. Fans play internet sleuth and surface with contact information for radio station managers. They tag reporters’ editors. They email other professional contacts. (And yes, this can count as a kind of doxxing, as some of the information these fans find is not easily found public information.)

While some of these accounts target people who spread malicious rumors or attack a star with insults, a large amount of these accounts target other fans. Despite fandom providing a community for people to connect over their interest in an artist, fans can and do turn on one another in an instant. They’re coming for people who write RPF, who draw fan art, who’ve criticized an aspect of the celeb’s craft, or who have made a joke about a star that gets taken the wrong way. The “offenses” that can get an outsider marked for mass-reporting are no less forgivable if they come from an inside fan.

Stan Twitter is a form of fandom fueled by intense emotions (usually love or hate), and when there are no outsiders to aim their frustration at — a journalist, a DJ, an overt anti-fan — all of that energy has to go somewhere. Increasingly often, it’s aimed in the direction of other fans or, as we saw with Swifties coming for Antonia Gentry, another celebrity caught at the wrong location at the incorrect time.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.