South Korean regulator fines Twitch for service disruption

Estimated read time 2 min read

A | a-+=

The South Korean telecommunications watchdog, known for its firm stance on upholding user interests, has shown Twitch Interactive Inc. that actions have consequences. The US-based live video streaming platform, Twitch, is feeling the sting of a 435 million won (US$327,000) fine imposed by the Korea Telecommunications Commission (KCC).

Twitch’s troubles began when it decided to reduce the video quality in South Korea from 1080p to 720p in September 2022, a move that left many users disgruntled. The situation only worsened when Twitch terminated its video-on-demand (VOD) service in the country five months later, sparking outrage among its Korean user base.

The KCC swiftly intervened, determining that Twitch’s suspension of the VOD service violated local telecommunications laws. According to the commission, Twitch’s actions undermined the interests of its users, a stance that Twitch unsuccessfully tried to counter by citing contractual confidentiality obligations when asked for relevant data.

Adding insult to injury, Twitch was hit with an additional fine of 15 million won for its failure to implement a system to prevent the distribution of illegal footage. Despite Twitch’s claims that its livestreaming and VOD services are not independent telecommunications services, the KCC remained unmoved, viewing the suspension of the VOD service as an unjustifiable business decision.

In response to the KCC’s ruling, Twitch has been ordered to disclose the receipt of these orders and to implement preventive measures before resuming business operations in Korea in the future. Additionally, Twitch has been instructed to prepare various user protection measures, including refunds, as the company is set to conclude its operations in Korea later this month.

The KCC’s actions serve as a stark reminder to foreign companies operating in South Korea that they must adhere to local laws and regulations, especially when it comes to protecting the interests of their users. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and the loss of business opportunities in one of Asia’s largest markets.

(Source: Insider Gaming | Yonhap News Agency | Dexerto)

You May Also Like