Naver Pledges Complete Overhaul Amid Opinion-Rigging Scandal

      May 10, 2018 12:56

      Korea's largest online portal Naver will completely overhaul its mobile site amid a widening opinion-rigging and fake news scandal.

      Changes will include not showing news headlines and real-time top search keywords from the main page. And the way comments are displayed under news articles, which has been criticized for being vulnerable to opinion-rigging, will also change.

      Naver provided the platform for power blogger Druking, who is accused of large-scale opinion-rigging in favor of now-President Moon Jae-in ahead of the presidential election.

      Naver CEO Han Seong-sook speaks to reporters in Seoul on Wednesday. /Newsis

      Amid criticism over the portal's powerful influence on shaping public opinion, Naver CEO Han Seong-sook told reporters in Seoul on Wednesday, "We decided to change the main page of Naver's mobile site so that it is more search-oriented."

      The plan includes leaving just the search engine and weather information on the front page, like Google, and removing all news.

      The news will instead move to a second page that will appear by swiping to the right. Naver will no longer be involved in editing or arranging news, which will be left in the hands of each news provider, who will also decide whether to allow comments under the articles, and how the comments will be displayed.

      The original plan of directing all news articles to the website of each news provider when a user clicks on the article on Naver has been postponed. "We agree in principle, but it's impossible to do this straight away due to existing contracts with media and different views among providers," Han said.

      But that still leaves the desktop website unaffected.

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