May 17, 2013 09:00
Online witch hunts are prompting a growing number of people to stop using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. These online hermits say they want to get out of cyberspace, where their personal information is far too easily accessible to strangers.
One 26-year-old office worker deleted his own website and canceled his Facebook accounts back in 2006, when an error by a football player with the same name cost Korea's national squad a crucial victory in the World Cup in Germany.
The man was stunned to find scores of hateful messages on his website. "I tried to explain that I'm not the football player, but it was no use," he said. “I got angry that perfect strangers carried on cursing me. I realized that the things people post on social networking sites are mostly emotional and of little practical use, so I stopped using the services."
He added, "I don't miss it at all."
The growing number of online hermits can be seen in the drop in the number of new subscribers. Facebook announced in December last year that the number of account holders in Korea surpassed the 10 million mark, but it has now dropped to 8.15 million.
Yoon Young-min at Hanyang University said, "As more and more people access networking sites, people who were initially pleased with the quick response to their comments are growing increasingly tired of the demands to interact all the time."
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