Mon, Sep 17, 2018 - Page 3 News List

PTT refuses new users after fake news incident

SPECULATION:The move by the online bulletin board system sparked conjecture among netizens, some saying it was to stop politicians from spreading their agendas

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Professional Technology Temple (PTT), the nation’s largest online bulletin board system, announced over the weekend that it would stop reviewing new user applications to the system, because of a problem that the system administrator referred to as a “loose registration process.”

Made late on Friday night, the announcement added that halting registrations would not affect those whose applications were under review.

Another announcement would be made when the bulletin board was once again accepting user applications, the system administrator said.

Netizens speculated about what the reasons for the move were.

Some said the suspension was intended to prevent political candidates from using the bulletin board system to spread their agendas for the nine-in-one elections in November.

Others said it had to do with Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), director-general of the Osaka branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, having committed suicide on Friday, allegedly because of harsh criticism over how the branch handled tourists stranded in Osaka following Typhoon Jebi.

Those accusing PTT articles of spreading fake news were themselves spreading fake news, PTT founder Ethan Du (杜奕瑾) said on Facebook on Saturday.

The Chinese media were the first to report that Beijing sent 15 tour buses to Kansai International Airport, he said, adding that the Chinese-language Apple Daily and Sanlih TV News picked up the story of the alleged event, highlighting it with sensationalized headlines.

Netizens exposed the report as fake news within two hours, with the Apple Daily’s follow-up story being forwarded to the PTT forum on Japan travel, Du said.

Forum user “GuRuGuRu” criticized the report based on personal experience, he added.

“The media then claimed that the PTT forum discussion was the source of the fake news. Consequently, we took the report down the day it was published,” Du said, adding that the PTT users who had actually exposed the fake news had been condemned as its perpetrators.

“I am more curious as to why this fake news persists without anyone coming forward to update or revise it,” Du said. “Is it because they want people to reread the report and blame the PTT system all over again?”

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