SEOUL, Jul. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — A South Korean lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow Internet service providers to delete fake news posts, amid growing concerns over their influence on political stability and evidence from other countries.
Lawmaker Lee Eun-kwon, a member of the Liberty Korea Party, set forward a reform bill on Wednesday to the Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection.
If the new legislation is passed, IT service providers such as web portals will be given the right to delete news stories that are proven to be fake news, as part of the government’s efforts to stop misinformation from spreading and manipulating public opinion.
Under the current law, spreading fake news in order to smear someone or ruin one’s reputation is illegal in South Korea, but information and communications service providers offering web platforms have not been pressured enough to do more to tackle the growing issue of fake news, Lee said.
“The threat of fake news, which has great influence and capability to spread widely, has been growing. It’s crucial that information and communications service providers take steps at an early stage,” Lee argued.
Lee’s proposal comes at an opportune time, as a number of countries around the world are struggling with the growing problem of fake news that poses a threat to political honesty and stability, increasingly so in recent years.
American President Donald Trump is facing accusations of colluding with Russia through his aides, who are suspected of secretly helping to disseminate misinformation about his then political opponent Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Kenya is also dealing with a plethora of fake news stories, which have been spreading like wildfire through messaging and social media services like WhatsApp and Facebook in the run up to the general election next month.
According to the African mobile surveying company GeoPoll, nearly nine in ten voters interviewed believe most of the news regarding the election is either misinformed or inaccurate, with 87 percent convinced fake news is being spread intentionally.
Against this backdrop and growing calls to do more, social media giant Facebook introduced a new fact-checking system this year in an effort to tackle fake news.
Ashley Song (email@example.com)