Go to contents

Police to Monitor SNS Providers for Election Violations

Posted March. 22, 2010 00:19,   


The National Police Agency said yesterday that it will crack down on illegal election campaigns using social networking services after talks with service providers at home and abroad and the National Election Commission.

Largely represented by the U.S.-based Twitter, social networking services allow users to upload or view text under 140 characters via the Internet or cell phones and read other people’s posts real-time on one’s Twitter. Other service providers include Me2Day, Yozm and Tossi of Korea.

A police source said a third party that simultaneously spreads messages supporting or opposing a candidate or a political party via several social networking services will be considered to have committed an election campaign violation.

“Of course, you get punished if you spread false information via Twitter, but if it’s an expression of opinion on a candidate, party or policy, and not a malicious attack, it is quite difficult to regulate,” the source said.

“Since subscribing to several services and spreading supportive or opposing views is more of an intentional election campaign rather than natural expression of opinion, we decided to define it as a violation of election law.”

After police and the election commission announced regulations on Twitter before the June 2 local elections, critics warned of infringement on freedom of expression and political participation.

A public debate at the National Assembly Thursday discussed a revision to Article 93, the legal grounds for regulating Twitter. Article 93 bans the distribution or posting of promotional materials or something similar that could affect an election 180 days before it starts.

Preventing the spread of posts on Twitter that violate election law seems impossible, however, because of the difficulty that social networking service providers at home and abroad have in removing users’ posts.

Twitter, with 100,000 users in Korea, has also rejected the Korean police’s request, saying, “Since our headquarters is in the U.S., we will not accept the request from the Korean National Police Agency.”