Korea’s ageism and sexism fueled by Internet.

South Korea is known for its internet speed and smartphone usage. Just hop on a subway or bus in Korea and you will see everyone using their smartphones.

In fact, when you look at the smartphone penetration rate, Korea ranks the highest in the world, according to Pew Research Center that conducted a survey in 2015.

Internet Explorer is still the most popular internet browser in Korea and it’s not Google that’s dominating the internet. It’s Naver. As a user of both Google and Naver, Google feels much more democratic and open. It is difficult to research on anything that is not popular or obscure on Naver. Source of information is very limited. However, Naver is a web portal, it has almost everything you need for an enjoyable internet experience.

Naver provides news, blogging and forum platform, shopping experience, Q&A section, messenger system, and the list goes on. Since it’s geared towards the South Korean market only, the information can be very skewed, especially on international news topics, and at times dogmatic.

The most interesting thing I find about Naver is the comment section.

On every news articles provided by Naver, you can see statistical data on who commented based on gender and age-group.

Due to strict regulation in South Korea on internet access, everyone needs to provide their Korean-version of social security number when you sign-up for an account in Naver. This is to make sure there is a liability when your article or comment creates a shit-storm. Korea has struggled with “ahk-plers”, who are known as “keyboard warriors” in the U.S. There has been huge controversies and even suicides due to online bullying.

But when you comment on news articles, your account name will be partially hidden to hide your true identity. But I’m sure Naver has full access to who’s writing what and when.

When I see that statistic report at the end of a news article, I get mixed feeling about it. It’s definitely interesting to see what age group and sex are most interested on a certain subject. But at the same time, it has the potential to create prejudice amongst people.

For example, the above image includes some comments that received the most up votes on an article about Brexit.

I will paraphrase the comments above.

dlgm***:World peace is old talk. As we become economically more difficult and suffer terrorism and immigration, a government becomes more conservative for safety and economy. We do not need to curse the British or the U.S. In fact, our government needs to create policies for safety of our people by prohibiting refugees and kicking out illegal immigrants.

That is some bold statement and I am surprised it got the most up votes. And here is the statistical data on who commented the most:

Are Korean men in their 30s the most conservative in Korea?

Korea is still stifled with race, gender, and seniority issues. And this data on gender and age group may hinder improving these problems.

Despite its miraculous economical and technological advances in the last 2 decades, Korea’s social values still need lots of work. There was a female murder case a couple months ago that created a huge debate over misogyny. You can read more about it here.

Unlike previous news articles, comments by female are much higher. The data itself is creating a line between male and female. What do you guys think about this?

How would you feel if Google started requiring government IDs to register so they can get your birthdate and gender?

Internet is free and diverse. But these data could eventually make the internet more biased, as it’s already happening on Facebook’s feed.