SEOUL, Jan.14 (Korea Bizwire) – The saying ‘malicious comments are better than no comments at all’ no longer seems to be true.
The number of stars who had to tolerate cyber attacks or stop at just ‘scaring’ those committing the offenses is now changing. Management companies are taking action and employing their full resources to deal harshly and swiftly with malicious comments, with actions such as filing lawsuits against offenders.
The popularity of a star not only brings fandom and fame, but also a considerable number of online attacks. Members of girl groups become victims of photoshopped images, or are sexually harassed on online bulletin boards (BBS). Actors are often insulted, and they suffer from false rumors.
Handling these matters has become one of the highest priorities for talent management companies.
The entire staff of many of these companies, including the PR division, continuously monitor comments on portal sites and communities, tracking malicious comments and false rumors. Reports from fans also have a huge role in gathering evidence.
The evidence is usually gathered and sent to the legal divisions of the management companies, where it is classified before being reported to law enforcement authorities.
FNC Entertainment, which represents comedian Yoo Jae-seok and girl group star Seolhyun, announced that it would take strong actions against those spreading malicious comments.
Prior to this announcement, Kim Jun-su of the group JYJ announced that he would take legal action against the netizen who wrote insulting comments related to the news of his relationship with Hani of girl group EXID.
IU’s management team at Loen Entertainment stated that they would deal harshly with those who distribute or spread photoshopped images and/or malicious comments about IU. This marks a change from the company’s position three years ago, when it withdrew a lawsuit filed against a netizen.
Many other stars and their management teams are preparing legal action as well.
The reason for the change is related to the fact that insults on the internet have risen to the point where the influence that they have on a star’s reputation is significant.
Furthermore, the malicious comments and false rumors spread almost instantaneously through SNS such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Kakao Talk.
Industry watchers also comment that ‘abuse’ of the same articles is also as much of an issue as the malicious comments themselves.
Management officials say that many journalists write articles based on false rumors, and distorting the truth to be more provocative. “It is a vicious cycle, because more malicious comments are created due to the false articles.”
The way legal authorities see online attacks is also changing. As important ‘freedom of speech’ is, the severity of cyber crime is now being acknowledged.
Even if it is impossible to make cyber attacks disappear, stars and management are hoping that the number of cases in which those making malicious comments are punished increases. They expect that changes could come about if the idea that making malicious comments is a severe crime with significant consequences spreads in society.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)