The Korea Herald


Lee Jun-seok urges supporters to be wary of YouTubers

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Sept. 17, 2021 - 14:33

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People Power Party leader Lee Jun-seok (Yonhap) People Power Party leader Lee Jun-seok (Yonhap)

In a press briefing that marks 100 days in office, People Power Party leader Lee Jun-seok called on the opposition party and its supporters to be wary of false and misleading videos on YouTube.

To win the presidential election, Lee said the party should focus on people thinking logically and rationally instead of people who see only what they want to see.

“A new media called YouTube recommends videos that you might want to watch through algorithms,” Lee said.

“The algorithm is in line with Google’s business model that maximizes user viewing time and obtains advertising sales accordingly,” he said. “It is very different from the party’s goal of trying to get as many votes as possible.”

“I think more our supporters look at elections in the language of the unscientific and somewhat magical nature created by the (YouTube) algorithm, the more distant regime change and victory in the presidential election will be.”

Lee said the scenarios drawn by YouTubers have never been correct in past competitions, citing the Seoul mayor by-election, in-party race, unification and party convention this year. They always “predicted the opposite” of the result, and they always “failed,” he asserted.

He plans to run the party for the people who think and act logically and reasonably.

As for the controversial revision of the Act on Press Arbitration that the ruling Democratic Party of Korea is pushing ahead with, Lee reiterated that the law is unprecedented anywhere in the world and is not a complete solution for the changing media environment.

The Act on Press Arbitration aims to mediate disputes over media reports that infringe on people’s rights, interests or reputation. Under the revised law, if the media damaged someone’s property, infringed on personal rights or caused mental distress due to false or manipulated reports, either on purpose or because of gross negligence, they would be liable for up to five times the actual damages the victims incurred.

“Lawmakers should discuss the new environmental changes of the media and should not impose new regulations on them.”

A day earlier, Democratic Party leader Song Young-gil and Lee debated live on a TV program concerning the law. When Lee insisted the ruling party should quickly give up ambiguous provisions such as gross negligence, Song replied he would delete it as there could be “unnecessary controversy.”

Next week, Lee is set to visit the US, marking his first visit to the nation’s strong ally since taking office and a trip right after North Korea launched two ballistic missiles. Lee has said he is “well aware of” the issue and will convey the party’s position to American politicians and think tanks.

He also plans to meet overseas Koreans to encourage them to vote. However, he remains suspicious of a mail-in voting system that would be required for overseas Koreans to easily vote.

He has said not every country’s postal system can be trusted because some have a private system, some governments censor and some are not politically free.

But he agreed that overseas voting should not be exclusive to only those living in metropolitan areas, saying, “I suggest that more polling stations be set up and I will discuss it with the Korean communities during the visit.”