SBS’s investigative journalism program “Unanswered Questions” has apologized regarding a mistake from its recent episode about digital chart manipulation.

The episode included an interview with a man who claimed that his personal data had been used for digital chart manipulation. He explained that his e-mail address was stolen by someone to make accounts on a music site, and the person used the account to buy NU’EST W’s song “Dejavu.”

“Unanswered Questions” released an initial statement about the matter on January 6, and an official apology was issued on January 9.

Read the program’s statement below:

While reporting for the January 4 episode of “Unanswered Questions” entitled ‘Manipulated World – Is It Digital Sajaegi? Or Viral Marketing?’ we met with an informant who stated that his e-mail address had been stolen.

The informant revealed through the interview that someone made 46 Genie Music IDs using his email account, and the same song was purchased 41 times through these IDs. The production team aired footage of the purchase details from his emails after obscuring it, but one frame (1/30 of a second) was omitted from the obscuring, and it showed that the song was NU’EST W’s “Dejavu.”

After the episode aired, the ‘NU’EST Digital Streaming Team’ composed of NU’EST fans revealed that while a fan was personally registering accounts on Genie Music to download NU’EST’s song, they used a random e-mail instead of their own, and that was the e-mail that belongs to the informant who appeared in the show. The production team felt the need to confirm the claim made by the ‘NU’EST Digital Streaming Team’ and began the confirmation process.

On [January] 5, we received the request from Pledis Entertainment for a corrected report and official apology and strong complaints from NU’EST fans, and we released statement saying, “If this is true, then we express our deep regret that suspicions arose because of the producers’ poor handling of the footage.” And after the process of checking over two days, we made the conclusion that it was the misentry of a fan as claimed by the ‘NU’EST Digital Streaming Team.’

We express sincere apologies to NU’EST members and fans along with the agency Pledis for causing a major misunderstanding due to poor handling of the footage and showing NU’EST W’s name without confirming the facts when this is definitely a different matter than the so-called “digital sajaegi” we intended to portray through the January 4 episode. Furthermore, we note that following the broadcast, there have been no accusations of NU’EST using chart manipulation.

The “Unanswered Questions” production team once again states that we will share the results of our investigation regarding digital chart manipulation suspicions with investigative agencies if requested.

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