Murder By Fingertips
Murder By Fingertips
  • Reporter Lee Mi-yeon
  • 승인 2019.12.05 12:32
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▲Naver and Kakao will discontinue celebrity news comment sections
▲Naver and Kakao will discontinue celebrity news comment sections


“The online platforms became a rubbish bin for anger and raw emotions for many Koreans. They just do not see the suffering they inflict on victims with a simple, short comment,” said Kawk Geum-goo, a psychology professor at Seoul National University. Comments have gone beyond the free expression of opinions. Another celebrity has cut her life short after battling cyberbullying and attacks. 
The news section is one of the most popular services for the portal site, but questions have been raised over whether the comments section should be kept alive due to a number of malicious comments and their negative impacts. The debate resurfaced after the death of singer and actor Sulli, whose birth name is Choi Jin-ri. She committed suicide and was a highly visible victim of online bullying. For this reason, Naver, the operator of Korea’s No.1 portal site announced its plan to crack down on malicious comments. It is clearing out malicious comments from its news section using “Clean Bot” technology based on artificial intelligence. The technology automatically spots curses or hateful language in comments on the portal site’s new section and hides the comments. It was partly introduced to its news service in the celebrity section as well. The expanded release will apply to all news categories including politics, culture, and business. Also, Kakao, the second largest operator of Korea’s portal site will discontinue celebrity news comments sections on Kakao Talk and Daum. “We have been operating comment services for individuals to share their opinions, but it has become difficult to neglect side effects caused by the service,” said Kakao co-CEO Yeo Min-soo. In particular, its services will no longer be offering related keywords with searches so users will not easily led astray into celebrity-related gossips. Real-time hot keywords services shown on the news tab of Kakao Talk were closed, and the company said it is reviewing ways to make hot keywords more useful and not sensational. The comment service on celebrity-related news articles will be disabled by the end of the month on both Kakao Talk and Daum. A service to provide related keywords on specific people after searching will be discontinued by the end of the year on both platforms as well. Kakao said it is still reviewing whether to ban comments on the news not related to celebrities. 
According to a Realmeter poll, nearly 70 percent of Koreans supported the adoption of the internet real-name online comment system. Two bills aimed at stamping out online abuse were introduced at the National Assembly on Oct. 25. One bill is requiring online users to reveal their online user name and IP address, a numeric designation to identify a physical location on the internet when posting comments on portals. Another bill targets such portals by requiring them to filter out malicious, discriminatory and hateful comments, and to block people online from posting such comments. The internet real-name system, however, was already declared unconstitutional in 2012. However, Son Ji-won, a lawyer for Open Net Korea, questions how effective the internet real-name system could be in rooting out the widespread cyberbullying. Son said, “Online trolling happens not because we do not have the internet real-name system, but because of society’s hate culture and low public awareness about human rights.”
As Korea has no law banning discrimination remarks in public for now, there also should be some standards on what constitutes hatred, why it should be banned, and introduce bills that can regulate it. While the freedom of the press must not be controlled, media outlets themselves should establish a system that can monitor and filter out gossip and provocative content. 


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