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Naver imposes disciplinary action on editor for news manipulation

Naver imposes disciplinary action on editor for news manipulation

Posted November. 04, 2017 07:21,   

Updated November. 04, 2017 07:43


A Sports section editor at Naver, Korea’s most widely used search engine and news platform, who was found to have removed a negative news upon the request of the K League, was reportedly suspended for one year.

According to IT sources Friday, the editor has not come to the office since such an act of taking down a news article was revealed last month. Salary is also not to be paid during the period of suspension. Currently, there is not a provision in the law that sets out penalties for arranging portal’s tab for unjust reasons, so the editor was not given dismissal right away. However, industry sources say that given that the usual length of disciplinary suspension does not go beyond three months, a year-long suspension is severe enough to be considered as being no different from dismissal.

As a result of the company’s internal investigation, this individual was found to have indeed accepted requests from the K League to change the article arrangement in October 2016. Naver CEO Han Seong-sook admitted and officially apologized for the company’s tinkering with its news editing, and Lee Hae-jin, the company’s founder, also made an apology during a recent parliamentary audit.

Naver has promised it will increase the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in its news arrangement to prevent a similar case from recurring. However, concerns over the portal website’s possible news manipulation seem to be only growing with the manipulation of search rankings of restaurants, hospitals and academic institutes, which place ads on the portal, disclosed in September.

Soo-Jung Shin crystal@donga.com