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(LEAD) Mnet takes action against ballot rigging in year-end K-pop awards

All Headlines 21:50 November 03, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with comments from Mnet representative, more details in paras 4-5, 7)

SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean cable TV music network Mnet has detected fraudulent votes cast in the upcoming 2017 Mnet Asia Music Awards (MAMA) and has eliminated the fake ballots, according to the company Friday.

"From Oct. 26, 2017 to Nov. 1, 2017, ballot rigging occurred," the company said. Mnet conducted a four-hour system audit of its servers earlier Friday to delete fraudulent votes.

Users found to be rigging votes will have their votes deleted, IP blocked, and IDs permanently deleted, according to the company. Voting will continue throughout Nov. 28.

"We've been told that bot program use was discovered in the votes," an Mnet representative told Yonhap News Agency. She also explained that Mnet officially allows 10 votes from a single IP address a day regardless of the number of Mnet accounts.

Regarding some fan theories over the Internet that the systems audit ended up benefiting certain nominees over others, the company representative responded by saying Mnet "doesn't work for or against particular artists."

MAMA, one of South Korea's largest year-end music awards show, will be held in three different countries this year over a week -- Vietnam (Nov. 25), Japan (Nov. 29) and Hong Kong (Dec. 1).

EXO-CBX, a sub-unit of boy band EXO, will perform in Japan, while EXO, BTS and Red Velvet are set to grace MAMA's Hong Kong show. Seventeen and TWICE, which made a power debut in Japan this summer, will also hit the stage in the Japanese show in Yokohama, while monster rookie group Wanna One is scheduled to appear at all three venues.

Launched in 1999 under the name Mnet Km Music Festival, the CJ E&M-owned music awards show was renamed MAMA in 2009, with the annual event expanding its outreach throughout Asia.

Logo for Mnet's 2017 MAMA (Yonhap)


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