/Extracted from Afreeca TV (left) /Extracted from twitch (top right)
/Extracted from YouTube (bottom right)
“Afreeca TV, Twitch, and YouTube.” All of those names may sound familiar. These all are live streaming video platforms. With such video platforms, also known as, “Me-media,” content creators either upload videos or do individual broadcasting. Currently, video platforms provide contents varying from mukbang, games, sports, beauty, to politics. As time passes by, a lot of people started to take it as an occupation, not a hobby. For the sake of popularity, however, some Broadcast Jockeys(BJ) or content creators are making provocative comments and insulting the weak. Consequently, a famous BJ of Afreeca TV, a well-known Korean video platform, received seven days of suspension for his abusive language at the netizens by the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC). In addition, netizens asked for a stringent punishment since his behavior was inappropriate. Along with this problem, Korea will now need to prepare a solution to prevent further problems.
There is an open studio at Internet Cafe run by Afreeca TV for broadcasting jockeys to have their broadcast.
/Photograph by Kim Ji-min
“The more views, the more earnings system” is the main problem
The so-called content creators including YouTubers and Afreeca TV’s BJs try to attract others to get more views. By doing such, they can gain more profits via each video platform’s system. This relationship is led by the profit system for each video platform. Afreeca TV, for example, has “Star Balloons system.” The viewers would support BJs by donating star balloons. Other video platforms work with similar logic, too. To be specific, if there are more viewers, then they could get more advertisement earnings. As a consequence, a lot of content creators are eager to make more provocative videos which trigger viewers’ curiosity. Thus, the video platforms became full of uncensored videos associated with violence.
Some content creators are obsessed with indecent content for popularity
The job of the content creator is to make sensational content. However, some of them cross the line to obtain more followers or subscribers in live video platforms. This kind of action is risky since the main age group of the viewers is the youth, who have a higher possibility of absorbing and imitating the video. One of the famous Afreeca BJs and YouTubers called “Chulgoo” has made numerous offensive remarks. For example, he used the word, “Sam-il-han,” which means women should be beaten once per three days. Using this term, he was embroiled with the controversy that he may have assaulted his wife constantly. Also, Shin Tae-il, who once was a YouTuber, captured attention through abnormal and immoral pranks, including passing through the toll without paying the fee and messing around with strangers. This kind of action not only inconveniences others but also gives a possibility for kids to imitate the behavior. In fact, it is quite prevalent to witness kids using insulting phrases and obtaining inappropriate knowledge from the videos. Yoo Eun-bi (30), a teacher at an elementary school revealed, “Sometimes, it is surprising to see kids using rude language without even noticing it. I try to caution them, but these days, kids are too easily exposed to those kinds of videos. There is a desperate need to strictly regulate the video content.”
It is easy to spot people with their phone doing individual broadcasting at crowded places.
/Photograph by Kim Ji-min
Another drawback of the improper video contents is that innocent people have forfeited their right to privacy. In crowded places such as Hongdae, Itaewon, and Gangnam, it is easy to spot some individuals broadcasting with their phone. Without approval, BJs often approach strangers and conduct an interview. However, the interviewees are judged by their physical appearance on the live stream chatting room by numerous viewers. The worse thing is, if the video is uploaded, then the interviewees cannot know how many platforms the video has been uploaded to. Due to the invasion of privacy, the petition to Cheongwadae (Blue House) saying, “Please ban street individual broadcasting” has been posted and it has exceeded 3400 of votes.
Rumors are reproduced to make higher view ratings
Another method of videos to draw attention is to discuss interesting stories, especially rumors. During the cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon stated, “On YouTube or Social Network Service, very purposeful and malicious fake news is being spread. Sometimes it is related to current affairs of the state, or national security.” The following examples are “fake news” that aroused controversy: North Korea has required tremendous money for the national pension. The pine mushroom that the North Korea Leader Kim Jung-un gave to President Moon Jae-in is contaminated by radioactivity. Prime Minister Lee demanded heavier punishment for making the fake news. He added, “This fake news will only aggravate diplomacy with other countries. The fake news will only perturb citizens.”
The absence of legal regulation is fundamental
Nowadays, there are legal regulations for television programs. The regulations of the television programs vary from morale, gender equality to privacy rights, and so on. If television programs violate any of the laws, they would be punished as the following: elimination, caution, and prohibition on screen. If the degree of violation is considered serious, the KCSC can fine up to hundred million won.
On the contrary, live streaming video platforms do not have such regulations. The Korea Communications Commission and KCSC monitor video platforms but only to the degree of giving a caution. Such video platforms are not categorized as the "broadcastings" of the Broadcasting Act, so they either observe rules set by the respective broadcasting business operators or are free to do whatever they want to do. Even if content creators get a suspension, they show up again using tricks such as moving to other video platforms or making another account to proceed with their existing contents. Thus, there is a limitation to exterminate improper content creators.
Movements to prevent further problems
As the problems regarding negative contents arise, several major video platforms started to propose alternatives. Afreeca TV, and Naver TV, which is owned by the biggest online platform, planned to fortify the system. Afreeca TV revealed that they will reinforce the 24 hours monitoring personnel so that they can be informed about the unethical BJs. Naver TV planned to delete offending videos as soon as possible in order to minimize any other secondary effects including kids mimicking the video. Acknowledging the fundamental cause, YouTube changed the monetary system. According to the official YouTube Creator Blog, they announced about strengthening the requirement of the YouTube Partner Program saying, “We are changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.” Regarding the change, Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer of YouTube, commented, “The revisement of requirement for monetization will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.”
Along with video platforms developing their own principle, the national assembly also spoke up to establish the law. Last August, some members of the national assembly publicized the first draft for the video platforms. The draft included that individual broadcasting from the video platforms should also be categorized as the Broadcasting Act.
Some countries are using their own system to regulate video platforms
China, for example, is the country with the most concrete and tough regulations. Back in 2016, the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China promulgated the law regarding Internet broadcastings. It stated that the government monitors and manages the Internet entertainment industry. If something inappropriate according to the standard of the Ministry of Culture is found, then they would shut the live broadcasting. In fact, they did announce the list of inappropriate online platforms and closed 4,313 online broadcastings down. Regarding this, Park Yoo-jin, (Sophomore, Environmental Science) of Ehwa Womans University commented, “It is a bit scary to close down individual broadcastings. It might hinder our freedom of expression. However, I think the Chinese government did not really have an option but to close those down. This indicates how vulnerable our online community is. We do not really have an option for now. I hope, one day, there can be a solution to this problem.”
Another country, the United Kingdom came up with its own solution. They added individual broadcastings to the TV-like content. This category is monitored just like the normal TV programs. If the content includes matters such as hatred remarks for race, gender, and religion, inappropriate for teenagers and something suggestive, then sanctions would be imposed.
These days in Korea, video platforms are flourishing and the new profession “content creators” is often in the spotlight. According to the KCSC, compared to 2017, the reported cases of the sexual crime for the first half of 2018 rose up by 41 percent. From the semiannual perspective, it has reached the highest since the foundation of the KCSC. For the benefit of the better video platforms, it is essential to implement tougher regulations by the government and each platform. In this way, people would be able to enjoy healthy and new Internet entertaining culture without feeling offended.
Kim Ji-min email@example.com
<저작권자 © 동국포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>