Online Korean History 'Awash with Nonsense'

      January 17, 2012 13:02

      A considerable number of responses to Internet searches about Korean history throw up inaccurate information, according to a study conducted by a young intellectual forum called Story K. The civic group analyzed a total of 1,042 responses to information searches about 21 topics related to the history of modern Korea and Korean presidents posted on two portal sites, Naver and Daum, from May to October last year, and found that 409 responses, or 39.3 percent, provided wrong, unfounded or irrelevant information.

      With multiple responses given to searches, 133 or 12.8 percent of all 1,042 responses were incorrect and 111 (10.7 percent) were arguable, while 51 responses (4.9 percent) raised unfounded suspicions.

      Some 66 responses (6.3 percent) had nothing to do with the questions; 34 responses (3.3 percent) were full of expletives; and 25 responses (2.4 percent) were far-fetched. Nine responses (0.8 percent) used North Korean-style terminology or included North Korean propaganda statements.

      For example, one answer to a question about the North Korean bombing of the Korean Air Flight 858 in 1987 says, "A Korean Air flight went missing in the air over the Indian Ocean." Another answer to a question about Syngman Rhee alleges that the South Korean dictator "took advantage of the independence movement only to satisfy his own selfish interests and lust for power."

      Nonetheless Internet users were found to trust such information searches. The outcome of a straw poll of 830 residents in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province from May to September last year showed that 42 percent said they used information search engines more than three times a week. Fifty-eight percent said they trust what they find.

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