'Make your own fake news' sites spark concern in S Korea , Latest World News - The New Paper

'Make your own fake news' sites spark concern in S Korea

SEOUL – Websites allowing the user to easily make and distribute fake news are sparking controversy in South Korea, just as the government plans countermeasures against the spread of false information using modern technology.

The websites are generally run anonymously and enable users to make fake breaking news in a template designed to make the information look convincing. Users can copy the link to the fake post and send it to anyone.

The sites usually add a disclaimer specifying the information to be false and that they have no control over the content distributed via their systems.

On one of those fake news websites, headlines in the “Breaking News” section range from the obviously false to some that could easily be mistaken as real information.

Examples include “ex-President Roh Moo-hyun resurrected” and “Major League Baseball’s Ryu Hyun-jin returning to South Korean league”, as well as claims of the assassination of political bigwigs.

The potential problem with this specific fake news website is that disclaimers only appear in the introduction page and after the person who received the fake news link has scrolled down to the bottom of the story.

This particular fake news website had misinformation in four other languages — English, Japanese, Chinese and Russian — but the disclaimers were only in Korean.

While sending a message is quick and easy, getting rid of it is not. The website promotes it as an easy prank and offers 50,000 won (S$50) gift certificates for users who manage to get 1,000 clicks, but explains only in the introduction page that deleting a post costs 50,000 won.

Links to the fraudulent information are similar to those of the Naver news service, which is operated by the most widely used search engine in the country. Officials from Naver said the company is aware of the website and is contemplating legal action against it. – THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK