Korean Portal Sites To Crack Down On False And Misleading Search Words

New guidelines have been set for misleading related and autofill searches on Korean portal sites such as Naver and Daum.

On April 3, Korean Internet Self-Governance Organization (KISO) announced that it set new policy guidelines to combat hate, defamation, and the release of private information during its 121st policy committee meeting on March 21.

Related and autofill searches analyze users’ search patterns and provide related search words. Portal sites have used this tool to increase the convenience of its users, but some can also be used to violate people’s rights by causing defamation and exposing private information.

KISO added the clause, “In the case that a search word itself is noticeably misleading from the truth, it can be deleted,” into its guidelines and clarified the criteria by which it classifies defamation caused by the search word. It also added the criteria for the deletion of search words following the request of the user or a third party.

These revisions come after KISO’s policy guidelines on search words that were put in place in 2012. The initial guidelines minimized company intervention on the basis of the users’ right to know and allowed the deletion of certain search words in order to prevent damage and provide help to users. Despite these efforts, requests for damages and remedies due to search words increased over the years and led to the recent guideline revisions.

KISO said, “The recent request for the removal of related search words about the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Kim Bu Kyeom, was the first time that the new guideline, ‘deletion of the search term when noticeably misleading from the truth,’ was applied.”

According to KISO, Kim Bu Kyeom submitted a bill on hate speech regulations in February. Although sexual orientation was not specified in the bill, “homosexuality” and “against homosexuality” came up as related searches for “Kim Bu Kyeom.” KISO made the decision to delete the search terms on the basis that they were spreading false information.

Lee Hae Hwan, the Chairman of KISO, said, “The revision of this policy not only broadened our ability to correct any potential rights violations due to search words, but also clarified the criteria for eliminating search terms by companies. We will continue to improve our policy so that users and companies can carry out their roles in a positive manner.”

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