Hundreds of teenage TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music claimed at least partial responsibility for Donald Trump’s disappointing crowd size at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma Saturday night. The New York Times reports that the group hatched the plan to prank the president via private messaging after the Trump campaign asked people to register for free tickets via their phones. K-Pop fans then reportedly shared the information with followers via TikTok and encouraged them to register for tickets for the rally with no intention of showing up. The Trump campaign said that nearly one million people had signed up for rally tickets.
CNN found several postings online including one on TikTok posted by a user with a fake cough saying, “Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go.” Several others have apparently been removed now that the prank is over
“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok —we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 26, told the Times. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.” The Trump administration instead blamed protesters in Tulsa for blocking supporters, which led to the disappointing turnout.