The Koreas | Society | East Asia
Naver will shutter the function, which has been topic to financial and political manipulation prior to now.
Within the newest transfer to revamp its service amid political and social issues, Naver introduced final week that they are going to be completely eradicating their trending searches chart. Since 2005, Naver, the biggest portal web site in South Korea with 30 million customers a day, has maintained its “rising search phrases” chart to point out trending matters in actual time. The highest phrases would seem on the Naver essential web page, with extra detailed data and retroactive search capabilities additionally obtainable. However as of February 25, the service will now not be obtainable.
“The best way customers behave on web providers may be very completely different than prior to now,” Naver wrote in a weblog publish asserting the change. “As an alternative of content material that’s unilaterally given to them, they select content material that’s related for his or her tastes and preferences, and it’s essential to supply that content material straight.”
Whereas the corporate centered its rationalization on the altering tastes of its customers, lately, the positioning and its trending searches haven’t been with out controversy. On the financial aspect, some complain that the search phrases have simply turn out to be digital billboards due to the way in which corporations encourage prospects to make use of sure search phrases to get them trending, with some even providing additional coupons in the event that they hit the primary spot. As well as, final yr South Korea’s antitrust regulator fined Naver 26.7 billion received ($23.8 million) for manipulating its search operate to direct customers to their very own procuring web site.
The trending search chart has additionally been a goal for out of doors manipulation within the political realm. In 2019, as South Korea was divided over the appointment of controversial politician Cho Kuk as justice minister, each supporters and opponents of Cho flooded portal websites in an try and get associated search phrases onto the entrance web page for tens of millions of customers to see.
That was not the primary time information and portal websites have turn out to be a battleground for politics, both. Again in 2012, South Korea’s Nationwide Intelligence Service carried out a widespread marketing campaign to publish content material supporting conservative presidential candidate Park Geun-hye and smear candidate Moon Jae-in. And in 2018 it was revealed that former politician Kim Kyoung-soo labored with a well-known blogger often called Druking forward of the 2017 presidential election to create hundreds of “likes” on information tales favorable to then-candidate Moon Jae-in. A court docket finally convicted Kim in relation to the scandal. President Moon was cleared of any direct involvement.
Lately, Naver has been working to adapt its trending matters to cope with these issues. In fall 2019, they expanded the record from 10 to twenty to showcase extra various matters, and labored to tailor trending searches higher to customers to keep away from common manipulation of the chart. As well as, final yr, forward of the Nationwide Meeting election in April, Naver briefly shut down the traits record and would additionally cease suggesting auto-completed searches in order that the portal wouldn’t routinely recommend sure candidate’s names or associated matters. Now, virtually a yr later, they’ve determined to take away the part for good.
Kakao, which operates the second largest portal web site Daum, already determined to take away its real-time searches final February.
South Korean portals have been grappling with the position of remark sections on their websites as nicely. The rise in malicious feedback and cyberbullying has been a sizzling matter in the previous few years, particularly after a number of celebrities tragically died by suicide in 2019. On the time, Daum eliminated the remark part on all its entertainment-related information to assist maintain harassment off its platform. Naver adopted go well with a number of months later in early 2020, though they left open the potential for resuming the service sooner or later if they may discover a method to take action safely.