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Naver Disables Comment Sections During Local Election Campaign Period
War on Online Opinion Rigging
Naver Disables Comment Sections During Local Election Campaign Period
  • By Yim Hyun-su
  • May 17, 2018, 14:53
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Naver has revamped its comment sections for political articles in the lead-up to the local elections slated for next month.

Naver steps up its fight against online opinion rigging.
Naver steps up its fight against online opinion rigging.

The South Korean web portal giant’s plan to not show comments on the same page as the article is the latest in a series of efforts to tackle fake news and public opinion rigging amid growing concerns over the credibility of online comments.

With the local elections set to be held in less than four weeks, comments on political articles will be displayed on a separate page, and they will only be shown in chronological order, temporarily banning users from reading the most liked comments.

An ongoing investigation into several politicians who have been involved in politically influencing the public opinion using automation software has raised awareness of the issue in the country, adding pressure to web portals like Naver and Daum to take action.

In a further sign of the determination to fight opinion rigging, Naver also launched a news page dedicated to the upcoming local elections where only users whose identity has been proven can leave comments, a move to prevent the use of automation software to influence the comment sections.

The latest moves come on the heels of Naver’s comprehensive plan to fight opinion rigging which was announced during a press conference earlier this month, including plans to do away with real time keyword rankings and the news curation service on its main page later this year.

Previous measures implemented to protect the comment sections include a limit on the number of comments each user can write within a minute, as well as the number of likes and dislikes.

Naver has long served as the most popular source of news in South Korea, with nearly 8 in 10 South Koreans getting their news from web portals, according to data from the Korea Press Foundation.

However, growing concerns over opinion rigging and fake news have seen leading web portals introducing major overhauls of their news sections.

Several people in South Korea have been charged for illegal opinion rigging on Naver in the past.