Google Disables Upload and Comments Option for YouTube Korea
Article by George Norman
On 14 Apr 2009
Google, who owns the popular video sharing site YouTube decided to pull the option to upload content and post comments for its South Korean users because a new piece of Korean legislature named “Cyber Defamation Law” requires “real-name verification” when using internet services. What this means for YouTube is that users must provide their real name and their government issued national identification number (similar to a social security number) before posting any comment or content to YouTube Korea – not an easy task when there are some 100,000 unique visitors per day.

The move on Korea’s part comes against people’s right to free speech as well as against their right to privacy (online anonymity). Instead of going against these rights, Google has opted to disable the option to post comments and new content – and thus remaining on the right side of the law as well.

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“We have a bias in favor of people's right to free expression in everything we do. We are driven by a belief that more information generally means more choice, more freedom, and ultimately more power for the individual. We believe that it is important for free expression that people have the right to remain anonymous, if they choose. Because of Real Name Verification Law in Korea, we have voluntarily disabled comments and video uploads when using YouTube in Korea with the Korea country setting, so you will not be required to verify your identity,” said YouTube Korea.

It is definitely a source of annoyance for Korean YouTube users, but it is not a situation that cannot be easily bypassed. All you have to do is pick a non-Korean country setting from the “Set Your Country Content Preference” tab. Google explains: “You will still be able to enjoy watching and sharing videos on YouTube. You may still upload videos and comments without proving your identity by choosing a non-Korean country setting from the top of any YouTube page. We understand that this may affect your experience on YouTube. Thank you in advance for your understanding. We hope that you continue to enjoy and participate in the YouTube community.”
The premise behind the South Korean “Cyber Defamation Law” is that people will think twice before posting a comment or before posting video content if they have to provide their real name – a lot of negative comments can make their way online simply because people know their online activities are anonymous and they cannot be confronted about them (including legally).



Tags: Google, YouTube, Korea
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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