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4chan #baldforblm hoax

No, people aren’t shaving their heads for Black Lives Matter

TextThom Waite

The hoax, #BaldForBLM, has been propagated on 4Chan and spread through Twitter amid worldwide support for the movement

The killing of George Floyd by the white police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, May 25, has sparked an outpouring of support for Black Lives Matter from activists and allies, who are gathering for mass demonstrations, or – if they can’t attend – providing aid for those who can. 

Social media has played an important role in this support, helping to coordinate the movement’s massive protests in cities across the world, and to share resources related to systemic racism and police brutality. Predictably, however, social media has also played a role in hoaxes and misinformation surrounding the anti-racism efforts.

One such hoax, which has been circulating on Twitter recently, is #goBaldForBLM (or just #BaldForBLM), which encourages users to shave their heads in support of Black Lives Matter.

The meme seems to have originated on 4chan, where a post shared anonymously June 4 reads: “Get #goBaldForBLM trending on Twitter and Instagram.” 

“The idea is to get women, particularly white women, to shave their heads for BLM. Guilt them into getting rid of their straight ‘white’ hair to show ‘solidarity’ with black women.”

A similar post, shared June 5, shows a fake ABC News report about Emma Watson supporting the trend, along with an edited picture of the actress with a shaved head.

While it’s unclear if anyone’s even fallen for the hoax, the Twitter tag is full of a few repeated images of white women with shaved heads or buzz cuts (a quick reverse image search of one image shows that it dates back to at least 2018).

In the wake of the hoax, the Twitter tag – which itself only dates back to June 5 – has also been spammed with fancams by K-pop stans, aiming to render it useless and reduce the spread of misinformation. K-pop stans have used the same tactic to combat a police ‘snitch’ app targeting anti-racism protesters.

Read tips on how to spot misinformation amid the current Black Lives Matter protests here, and more on how to take action if you can’t attend any protests here.

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