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Korea: Bloggers and Donuts

A blogger who worked at the fast food chain Dunkin’ Donuts in Korea exposed what he said were unsanitary conditions at the factory in his blog on a portal site. The company quickly asked the portal site to delete the post, saying it constituted libel. This response by the company, however, caused the news to spread via other bloggers. Using a basic characteristic of the Internet, they copied the blogger’s original post and spread it to other portal sites and blogs, or wrote about the attitude of the company on their own blogs. Bloggers are satisfied with their victory in exposing the truth. That was the first round of the fight, “bloggers vs company.” Bloggers expressed their feelings on this issue.

“Goangye danjeol ui sijak” expressed his feelings in a post entitled, My Love, Dunkin…,:

2년전에 헤어진 그녀로부터 이별을 통보받았을 때보다 더 침울하다. 온 마음을 다해 필자의 모든 것을 주었다고 자신있게 말할 수 있는 그녀와의 이별 사건에 비교할 수 없을 정도로 배신감이 느껴진다.

I feel gloomier than when I was dumped by my girlfriend two years ago. I feel betrayed as much as the time I had to say good bye to her whom I gave whole my heart.

For the next round of the fight, Dunkin’ Donuts used another tactic. They started sending a statement to bloggers with the title of “Standpoint of Dunkin Donuts on the Online Issue.” It's quoted from a blog, http://xenix.egloos.com/1558751:

온라인의 파급력은 이제 누구나가 아는 사실입니다. 훈훈한 내용이 순식간에 퍼져나가는 순기능이 있는 반면에 가끔은 잘못된 내용이 마치 사실인양 오도되기도 합니다. 그런 차원에서 저희는 먼저 잘못된 내용이 많은 사람들을 통해 사실로 받아들여질 것에 대한 조치를 포털에 1차적으로 요청한 것이며, 포털에서는 저희의 내용이 근거가 있다고 판단하여 해당 게시물을 삭제조치한 것으로 알고 있습니다…처음 문제제기를 했다는 사람은 자신의 잘못을 인정하고 해당 게시물을 삭제했습니다.

Everyone knows how powerful the ripple effects of the Internet are. While it can share nice news, it sometimes spreads misinformation. We asked the portal site because the misinformation was spread by a lot of people first and we understand that the portal site made the decision to delete the content based on an objective view… The person who brought out this issue first recognized his mistake and deleted his writing.

Shiver’s place tries to take a balanced look at both sides:

하지만 사건은 급기야 일부 블로거들 사이에서 ‘기업,언론'과 ‘블로그,블로거’ 의 싸움으로 인식되기 시작했다. 비알코리아의 ‘명예회손에 의한 삭제 요청'을 받아들인 서비스형 블로그 업체에 의해, 운영자의 의사와 관계 없이 던킨도너츠 관련 고발과 사진을 담은 포스트가 삭제되기 시작했기 때문이다. 사태에 대한 비알코리아의 대처는 ‘손바닥으로 하늘 가리기’ 이자 ‘블로그와 블로거에 대한 도전'으로 받아들여졌다.
지적하고 싶은건, 사태가 여기에 이르기까지, 찾아보기 매우 어려웠던 ‘반대의견'에 대한 것이다. 처음 고발 게시물이 올라온 지 일주일여가 지난 지금에서야 객관적인 입장에서 바라보고자 하는 시도들이 이루어지고 있으나 여전히 대세는 ‘던킨, 삭제가 능사인줄 아느냐?'는 식의 입장이다. 물론, 어떠한 입장 표명도 없이 ‘명예회손에 의한 삭체 요청'만으로 대처하고 있는 비알코리아측이 문제가 없는것은 아니다. 하지만 고발 게시물에 대한 네티즌과 블로거들의 반응 역시 문제가 없는것은 아니다. ‘던킨도너츠에 5년여 근무했다는’ 한 네티즌의 고발에 대한 신빙성에 대한 의심을 제기한 블로거는 많지 않았다.

Among some bloggers, the issue started to be viewed as a fight between “enterprise, media” vs “blog, bloggers”. The portal site accepted the ‘request of the company against libel’ and started deleting posts related to this news without informing the bloggers. These attitudes of the company and the portal site were taken as a challenge to blogs and bloggers, an attempt at “covering the whole sky with a palm”). Until now, it has been hard to find comments favouring Dunkin’ Donuts’ side of the argument. Since the first post came out a week ago, there have been a few cases trying to see this objectively. But the majority have been critical – “Dunkin, is the deletion considered your work?”. Of course, the way the company acted was not right, but the responses of the netizens and bloggers are also problematic. There were a few bloggers who were suspicious about why the blogger, who worked at Dunkin’ Donuts for five years, suddenly exposed this issue.

Ghestalt made the point clearly about this battle:

사건의 진실은 아직 밝혀지지 않았습니다. 하지만, 요 근래 사이트들과 블로그들을 보고 있으면 마치 인간 파도를 보는듯합니다. 왜.. 경기장 같은곳에서 파도치듯 일어났다 앉는것 있잖아요? :) 손에 든 돌을 버리란 이야기는 아닙니다. 잘못된것은 고쳐져야 하지요. 하지만, 신중하게 기다려 봅시다.

The truth of the issue has not been exposed. But when I recently see blogs and portal sites, it is like a human wave. Like in a stadium, people sit and stand like a wave… It doesn’t mean we have to throw a stone out of our hands. Of course, we should correct a wrong thing. But let’s wait cautiously.

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