SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — Typing in the name of a girl group celebrity on a search portal returns with insulting ‘suggest keywords,’ including some related to the exposure of certain parts of the body.
These keywords remain on the internet despite the risk of defamation and sexual harassment against the celebrities in question.
In response, South Korean netizens have begun a voluntary initiative to ‘purify’ the list of suggest keywords related to female celebrities.
Suggest keywords are a list of search terms gathered based on the user’s search patterns. They pop up when the user types in a relevant keyword in a search box.
Numerous posts related to ‘keyword purification’ can be found on Twitter.
Over 6,000 people are following the ‘female celebrity suggest keyword purification bot’ currently active on Twitter. One of its posts has been retweeted over 5,300 times.
All ‘purified content’ is shared with all Twitter users, and sent to outside online communities through screenshots.
Participating in the purification initiative requires a user to first log into the portal site, and conduct a search using ‘good keywords’.
The user should then click on one of the posts that comes up in the search results, pull down the scroll bar, and remain on the screen for 15 seconds.
As complex as the procedure may be, many users are nevertheless willing to participate in the initiative. They also find and report abusive keywords to the portal website.
“When Sulli passed away after suffering from severe depression due to cyberbullying, an online movement began to take down all suggest keywords related to her, which turned out for the better,” said Kwak Eun-hye, 18, who has been running the Twitter account for over 2 months.
“It gave me hope that we can correct the suggest keywords, and led me to begin this initiative,” she said. Kwak emphasized, however, that structural change is required to fully address the issue.
“It is not easy to purify a suggest keyword even if we have more than 5,000 people on board,” she said. “It is probably for the best to shut down the suggest keyword system altogether.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)