Ensure stable services or face fine, S Korea tells Google, FB

South Korea said on Monday it has required global tech giants Google, Facebook and Netflix to comply with the country’s new law under which large data-hungry online companies must provide stable services.

If companies fail to meet the new rules, they could face an administrative fine of up to 20 million won ($18,000).

Last year, South Korea passed a law revision holding online content service providers accountable if they fail to maintain stable services amid growing complaints against streaming giants Netflix and Google, which operates YouTube, after their services experienced a number of outages.

Under the revised Telecommunications Business Act, large online content providers are also required to report service errors to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The new rules apply to online companies that account for 1 per cent or more of the country’s average daily data traffic in the last three months of a year and that have more than 1 million daily users, reports Yonhap news agency.

The ministry said global tech giants made up a significant portion of the country’s daily data traffic in the final three months of 2020, with Google accounting for a whopping 25.9 per cent, followed by Netflix at 4.8 per cent and Facebook at 3.2 per cent.

Among local companies, top portal operator Naver held the top spot at 1.8 per cent, followed by rival Kakao at 1.4 per cent and video streaming service Wavve at 1.18 per cent.

The six companies accounted for a total of 38.3 per cent of the country’s average daily traffic over the period.

The ICT ministry data also showed that Google’s average daily user number over the period stood at 82.3 million, followed by Naver at 57 million, Kakao at 55.2 million, Facebook at 14.3 million, Netflix at 1.7 million and Wavve at 1 million.

The ministry said it has notified the six companies and will finalise the designation by early next month after consultations with the companies.