Naver ends trending keywords for election

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Naver ends trending keywords for election

Korea’s biggest Internet portal will temporarily stop showing a list of most-searched terms ahead of the general elections on April 15.

Naver said Wednesday it will suspend showing the real-time list of trending keywords from April 2 to April 15 in order to avoid controversy ahead of the elections.

Last year, when Cho Kuk was appointed minister of justice, Naver’s list degenerated into a battlefield used by Cho’s supporters and critics.

Naver said it would also shut off its autocomplete keyword function in March. This is to avoid names of candidates being autocompleted by the program.

Kakao, operator of the Daum search engine, will permanently end its real-time list of most-searched terms starting today. The IT company disclosed it would in December.

“The list of real-time, most-searched terms is a service originally intended to share breaking news or disastrous situations with the people of Korea in a timely manner,” Kakao said. “But lately, the list has lost its true intention and proper function.”

Beyond the general elections, Naver said it would end suggested keywords when a user types in the name of a specific person starting in March.

“Suggesting related keywords was meant to offer something that user might be interested in when looking up someone,” Naver said Wednesday.

“But this has lead to exposure of keywords that might be violating someone’s personal privacy and spreading rumors that are not confirmed.”

Naver also said it would shut down the comments section for articles related to entertainment news in order to avoid toxic comments that could have a negative impact on celebrities starting in March.

It said it would remain shut down until “a structural reform” takes place in the entertainment news section.

Kakao shut its comments section for entertainment news in October.

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