Google shuts down comments, uploads on Korea version of YouTube

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Google has announced that it will be disabling user video uploads and comments, both video and text forms, on the Korean localised version of its video sharing website YouTube as a protest over new regulations made by the South Korean Government came into effect.

The new laws, part of a move to combat defamation on the internet, came into affect on April 1 and now forces sites with over 100,000 unique visitors per day to provide the real names and the national ID card numbers of users of South Korean users.

While other sites are already asking for national ID card numbers when registering accounts long before the laws were enforced, Google did not opted to ask for the information.

It has been no surprise for South Korea to have pass the new laws. Recent victims of cyber-bullying have committed suicide, including a number of popular actors and actresses who had been mentioned in online rumours; like Choi Jin Sil, an actress who ended her life after rumours had her pressuring a fellow actor to repay a loan.

As well, high-profile cases like the “dog poop girl” – where a dog belonging to a Korean female defecated on a subway in the capital Seoul and failed to clean it up, and a few days later, an image of the incident was posted online by a fellow traveller – were forced to leave Korea after being identified.

The surprising move by Google, which has been struggling in the Korean market, along with other Asian markets like China and Japan, would bypass the requirements. If Google opted to follow the new regulations, new user submission forms would be sent out to users – and would also make South Korea to be the first country that Google had been forced to submit personal information.

Users, however, will still be able to view videos online. “YouTube users will be allowed to watch videos and read comments as they always have, and will be able to embed (link) the videos to other sites,” according to Google in its official blog for Korea.

But there is a workaround, and Google have noted it in the blog post. By simply changing the version of the site to any other country outside of Korea, and users will still be able to post comments and upload videos. However, by doing so, you would also be using a language other than Korean – but again, you can set it the language to be in Korean as well.

Image from: Google System