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Meta fails to provide communication channel in Korea: lawmaker

Oct. 27, 2023 - 14:07 By Moon Joon-hyun

Meta Platforms has failed to provide a proper channel for communication to uphold its legal responsibilities in Korea, a lawmaker claimed Friday, citing data provided by the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The Science Ministry lacks basic contact details for Meta Communication Agent Limited, which refers to Meta's legal entity that is supposed to serve as a communication channel with Korean authorities.

The only available means of contact to the agent is an automated landline that redirects callers to Facebook's website, without any option to speak to a person in charge, according to the information obtained by Rep. Park Wan-joo.

Under the Telecommunications Business Act, tech platform companies such as Meta Platforms, categorized as a value-added telecommunications service provider here, are required to designate a local representative, or in Korean legal terms, "domestic agent," to liaise with local users and authorities. Also, the Science Ministry is required to maintain a valid means of contact with these firms.

Facebook Korea provided the phone number to the ministry in June, but did not provide additional contact information. The firm claims its role is limited to advertising and sales in Korea, distancing itself from operational and regulatory responsibilities for platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

“This operational blind spot could present significant challenges, especially in cases of service disruptions, data leaks, or false advertising,” Park said.

Furthermore, Meta Platforms is required to appoint an official for disaster management here, as the ministry introduced related regulations for value-added telecommunications services last year following the Korean internet giant Kakao's five-day outage.

"If the domestic representatives assigned by the overseas operators cannot be reached directly, the whole system's existence is to be questioned," Rep. Park said.