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Naver ignoring its social responsibility

Posted January. 09, 2018 09:12,   

Updated January. 09, 2018 09:32


It has been revealed that top South Korean Internet portal Naver has arbitrarily deleted some of the related search keywords. According to a report on Sunday by the verification committee under the Korea Internet Self-governance Organization, Naver deleted 15,584 related search keywords and 23,217 autocompleted search keywords from October to November of 2016. Naver also deleted 1,183 real-time rising search keywords (real-time keywords) from June to November of the same year. The Internet giant said it deleted search keywords when a celebrity or a group (company) requested for deleting or if it falls to a certain grounds by self-judgment.

According to Naver, it deleted related search words that defame certain individuals, or have possibilities of illegality or lewdness, but did not fabricate or distort anything. About deleting related search words of “dressage of Kim Dong-seon and Chung Yoo-ra” because of the request by Kim, Naver said, “The verification committee referred to a previous case of a celebrity, which we recognized was ‘high in concerns for invasion of privacy’ when it comes to the manipulation of government affairs.” But the verification committee countered Naver’s statement, by saying, “As the whereabouts and pasts of those who are related to the manipulation of government affairs raise a lot of suspicions, there can be controversies about excluding the search keywords.”

Especially when it comes to making “strengths” show up as a related search word about the name of a certain product but excluding words including “flaw,” “weakness” and “refund” from the related search keywords makes everyone be suspicious of external pressure leading to distortion of search keywords. In December 2016, Naver was also under fire for deleting related search keywords by the demands of companies and universities. But it has never suggested clear standards for deleting the search keywords. The company is currently saying that it will prepare a logical standards and transparent administration, but fails to present any concrete and specific plans.

It turned out that the Internet portal giant relocated the news by the external solicit, and was even controlled defenselessly by a marketing company’s fabricating real-time search rank last year, which tainted Naver’s credibility. If it is true that Naver arbitrarily controls even search keywords, it can be said that the portal giant has turned itself away from social responsibilities as a window of information distribution. If Naver, which takes 70 percent of the domestic search engine market and 55 percent of online users who read articles, becomes the center of controversies on fabrication and distortion, it would be extremely dangerous.