Companies and politicians deleting criticism from the Net

» Naver and rivals Daum and SK Communications have been deleting “defamatory” comments from their Web sites, largely at the request of big companies and National Assembly members.

 In a growing number of cases, the provision allowing portal sites to temporarily delete Internet posts accused of being defamatory is being abused by power groups like big business conglomerates and members of the National Assembly.

The Communication Decency Act stipulates that “when it is hard to determine whether an Internet post infringes on the rights of others, or when a fight over its legitimacy is expected,” a portal site may prevent access to the content within a period of 30 days.

Portal sites have been doing just that, temporarily deleting user-posted content when requested to do so by concerned parties, even when they are unable to determine whether or not the material is libelous. The legal provision, therefore, is becoming a blanket of protection for companies and politicians that want to snuffle out criticism and accusations.

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