Naver to Overhaul News Platform amid Opinion Rigging Scandal | Be Korea-savvy

Naver to Overhaul News Platform amid Opinion Rigging Scandal

(image: Naver)

(image: Naver)

SEOUL, May 9 (Korea Bizwire)South Korea’s top portal operator Naver Corp. said Wednesday it will stop editing news articles starting later this year amid mounting criticism over its neutrality in the wake of a sprawling online opinion rigging scandal.

“Naver will stop editing news articles after the third quarter,” CEO Han Seong-sook told reporters in Seoul. “Each press company will be responsible for editing its own articles.”

The scandal centers on allegations that a 48-year-old blogger, who goes by the name Druking, used a computer program to mastermind illegal online opinion rigging. Druking is suspected to have rigged comments on news articles carried by Naver as they can exert considerable impact on public opinion.

Naver said it will delete all news headlines from its first page and will only carry its search engine feature on the top of the page as the company has been criticized for having too much editing power.

“The measure is to deal with the situation of too much public attention being paid to certain news articles if they appear on the first page of the website,” Han said.

The executive also said Naver will remove the so-called real-time search feature from the first page of Naver’s mobile website.

Real-time search displays words that are most frequently checked every minute or so. The feature has some negative side effects as people naturally keep clicking on search results that can be manipulated with the right tools.

Naver, meanwhile, said it will push forward adopting the so-called outlink system that has been demanded by newspapers and broadcasters.

Naver currently uses an “inlink” system that shows articles and runs the comments section within its website, while other major portals such as Google Inc. operate on outlink systems which show lists of external URLs by newspapers or broadcasters.

“It would be difficult to adopt the outlink system for all news articles, but Naver will actively push forward the adoption after discussing with each media company,” the CEO said.

Naver said it will also strengthen monitoring of users to stop the recurrence of such opinion rigging attempts by watching out for macro software.

The incident has sparked a fierce political dispute ahead of the June 13 local elections, as Rep. Kim Kyoung-soo of the ruling Democratic Party, a close aide to President Moon Jae-in, is known to have been in contact with Druking for years.


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