SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's communication watchdog said Wednesday that it ordered over 230,000 examples of harmful online material to be deleted or restricted from access in the country in 2018.
The action taken by the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) represents a three-fold spike over the 84,000 cases found in violation of the rules in 2017 and a 20 percent increase from 2016, when 201,000 cases of illegal and harmful content were barred from being screened on the domestic Internet.
The latest findings showed that 187,000 offenses, or 78.9 percent of the total, centered on restricting access to illegal overseas sites.
"The numbers show that foreign web services are being used to circumvent local operational guidelines on what can and cannot be circulated on the Internet," an official said.
He said under such circumstances, it is imperative that Seoul work with international organizations to clamp down on illegal online activities.
Broken down by type of illegal activity detected, the commission said 33.4 percent of violations involved online prostitution and lewd content, while 26.6 percent concerned gambling. A further 20.7 percent were violations centered on illegal medication and food products.
In terms of sites used to spread illegal content, local portals such as Kakao and Naver came in first and second, respectively, among South Korean companies, while among foreign social networking sites, Tumblr, Twitter and Google were cited for spreading harmful material.
The KCSC said Kakao has been cited for not tightly controlling the flow of illegal financial advertisements, while Tumblr and Twitter were found to have spread prostitution and obscene material such as pornography.
It said efforts will be made to further crack down on illegal activities so as to create a healthy Internet environment for users.