Imagine if police took internet defamation seriously: Twitter would be lovely, comment sections on YouTube would be barren and Facebook would probably still be awful anyway. In South Korea, the police do just that, but it’s not as lovely as you’d imagine.
There are those who are willing to try and warp the system, goading people into the act of defamation and then holding them to ransom. Hankook Ilbo, one of the nation’s biggest broadsheets, recently reported that an alarming number of these cases are being committed in League of Legends.
South Korean police have reported that there were over 8,000 online defamation cases filed in 2014, with even more than that recorded by July this year. Around half of all cases are allegedly connected to League of Legends.
Apparently the cause of this is that criminals are goading others to make inflammatory remarks so they can then use blackmail on the baited victim. South Korean League of Legends players label these hustlers “settlement money hunters”.
These videogame predators enter a game, full of hubris, announcing themselves and making their name clear when a game begins. They play like crap, and the big name announcement is how they make it clear where the hate is directed when another player shouts “Oy, Artosis, you knob”, or something like that.
Screenshots are taken of the exchange and the hunter skips all the way to the police station. Punishment is harsh for defaming, with fines of up to $20,000 (US) and a possible sentence of three years in prison.
Once the police visit the alleged defamer with the evidence, the hunter just has to swoop in and offer an alternative, lower, but still considerable sum of money to settle things. South Korean police are currently working on ways of combating the blackmail troll scourge.