Elon Musks’s reign of Twitter terror now extends to one of the largest factions on the site: K-pop fans. This year’s MAMA Awards, an annual Korean music awards show hosted by Mnet, a channel owned by massive Seoul-based media conglomerate CJ ENM, says voting for two categories has been affected by “internal changes within Twitter.”
In an official statement, Mnet said that it is impossible to “secure and collect voting data” for their “Worldwide Icon of the Year” and “Worldwide Fan’s Choice” awards, which are determined based on a combination of elements including music video plays, Spotify streams, and tweets. Therefore tweeted votes, which account for 20 percent of the total for “Worldwide Icon of the Year” and 10 percent of the total for “Worldwide Fan’s Choice,” would no longer be counted as part of the total.
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It’s unclear if the internal changes they refer to are the result of layoffs at Twitter Korea. When reached for comment, a PR representative for CJ ENM would not expand on the statement to specify if voting was affected by staffing or another issue.
Many fans were frustrated by the change. “So we were literally voting on twitter and posting those hashtags for nothing???!” asked one in a quote tweet. “Why would they waste our efforts?” asked another.
Some expressed suspicions at the timing of the statement, given recent accusations of voting fraud against the awards show. In regards to this concern, the MAMA Awards provided Mashable with the following statement:
“MAMA AWARDS monitors the voting data in real time to flag any irregularities and any abnormal votes monitored through post-data verifications are excluded from the final vote count. To ensure transparency and objectivity, the entire voting process, including the final vote tally, is verified by Samil PwC – the same company that handles the votes for the Academy Awards. MAMA is a all-round awards that incorporates global index, reflecting the voices from global fans and data from global music platforms. As the leading global K-POP awards, it is our priority to ensure fair and accurate voting results.”
The Awards have also added a notice to all visitors of their website assuring that they have “conducted a thorough verification to ensure fair and accurate voting results” and that votes “will also go through a thorough verification and data confirmation process.”
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CJ ENM last came under significant scrutiny for vote rigging between 2019 and 2021, when producers of Produce 101, a popular competition series on Mnet, were found guilty of vote manipulation. The scandal resulted in the disbandment of X1, a group formed on Produce X 101, and led to general distrust among fans and viewers. In 2017, CJ ENM paused voting for the MAMA Awards to address accusations of voter fraud.
The MAMA Awards heralds itself as the “World’s No.1 K-pop Awards.” The event is scheduled to take place over two nights, starting Nov. 29, with performers including Stray Kids, ZICO, Tomorrow x Together, NewJeans, NMIXX, and BIBI.