The Korea Herald


Naver Z joins global alliance to fight online child abuse

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Sept. 14, 2022 - 15:26

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Naver Z joins Tech Coalition (Naver) Naver Z joins Tech Coalition (Naver)
Naver Z, the metaverse affiliate of South Korean IT giant Naver, has joined the Tech Coalition to fight online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, the company said Wednesday.

Established as a voluntary working group in 2006, the Tech Coalition is a global alliance of technology companies that have come together to better detect, report, remove and prevent online child sexual abuse.

With Naver Z becoming the newest member of the alliance, there are now 28 companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft in the Tech Coalition.

Naver Z -- the operator of Asia’s largest metaverse platform Zepeto with over 20 million monthly active users -- said the global partners are working to develop new technologies, fund new research, increase reporting and take collective action to ensure a more coordinated and collaborative approach to keeping children safe online.

“Our key responsibility is to ensure that Zepeto is a safe place where our community, especially our younger users, can play and create without fear of harm. As a member of the Coalition, we will contribute to the industrywide initiatives to develop technology, policy, research and tools to keep children safe online,” said Kim Jae-wook, CEO of Naver Z.

As a vast majority of Zepeto users is composed of teenagers or younger children across the world, Naver has continuously updated the metaverse platform to protect its users.

According to the company, Zepeto has implemented an artificial intelligence-based technology that can detect obscene materials and sexual exploitation on the platform, as well as an automatic filtering technology that can hide certain content in violation of the guidelines from search results.

Users can promptly report wrongful content or behaviors with the reporting function, which is constantly accessible on the screen while using the application.

“From our first conversation with Naver Z, their strong commitment to protecting the children that use their platform has been clear,” said Sean Litton, executive director of the Tech Coalition.

“We look forward to working with them and aligning their expertise as part of our coordinated effort to create a digital world where children are free to play, learn and explore without fear of harm.”

Concerns over child sexual exploitation and abuse online have been on the rise in South Korea, as the number of relevant perpetrators has increased along with the recent growth of various metaverse platforms.

According to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family’s analysis released in March, the number of crimes involving production and distribution of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents online increased by 61.9 percent on year in 2020, while the number of victims increased by 79.6 percent during the same period. The average age of the victims was 14 years old.