Photo: SoraNews24
national

Yahoo! Japan won’t let anyone post comments without providing a phone number

33 Comments
By SoraNews24

One of the nice things about the internet is its potential as a societal equalizer. Gone are the days of being spoon-fed news and information by major corporations, replaced by anyone with a camera, social media account, and a point to make.

In a lot of ways, this is great and helps to bring the viewpoints of marginalized people to the forefront. On the other hand, some marginalized people were marginalized for a reason and espouse ideas that can have a toxic effect on others. That is why Yahoo! Japan has recently announced stricter policies on how people can comment on news articles.

Yahoo! Japan is a very popular web portal in the country, especially as a news aggregator, and a single leading news item posted on Yahoo! can often generate hundreds to thousands of comments. These are all made through people’s Yahoo! accounts, most of which are relatively anonymous, with the account name partially censored. This anonymity can allow some people to really let loose with opinions, possibly for no other reason than just to do some trolling.

It’s something that Yahoo! has been working on since 2018 when they strengthened their comment suspension measures to stop repeat-offending accounts. Then in 2020 they set up measures to stop suspended accounts from just creating new Yahoo! IDs and going right back to posting, by requiring new accounts to provide a phone number.

Now, they announced that starting mid-November users must have a phone number registered before even being able to make accounts. The number is verified through an SMS message sent to the user, so you can’t skirt around it by just putting in 867-5309 or something like that.

In addition to curbing inappropriate comments, Yahoo! is hoping to move away from a password-based system towards either two-factor or biometric verification to log in.

The phone number requirement follows the creation last month of the Japan Fact-Check Center, an NPO largely funded by Yahoo! and Google and run by scholars and journalists with the goal of curbing misinformation online, especially with regards to COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

However, Japanese news site Bunshun Online published a very critical analysis of the project, saying that it would be largely ineffective because its scope is too limited. As one example, they cited Yahoo! comments as a major outlet of misinformation that fell outside of the scope of the Japan Fact-Check Center, and said that if the IT giant really wanted to stop the flow of fake news, they could do a lot more good by starting with that.

Although Yahoo! never acknowledged Bunshun Online’s criticisms, the timing of this announcement would suggest that they are taking the advice to heart and working on cleaning up their comments section further while also addressing fake news on a wider scale through funding the Japan Fact-Check Center.

It’s early to see how effective this new measure will be or if it’s the ideal solution to the problem at hand. If you think Yahoo! should try something different, let us know in the comments below. You don’t even need to provide a phone number!

Source: Yahoo! Japan via NetlabBunshun Online

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
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I'm not giving my number.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Imagine if Yahoo in the U.S. or Reddit did this. There would be riots.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Yahoo US only recently brought back their comments section:

it had become a bit of a sad place with people posting and reposting racial, religious, etc., slurs or their anti-(insert politician of your choice) rhetoric even on articles about “Family dog walks 1000 miles to get home.”

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Big brother, or big sister, is watching you. And drones, satellites, AI, face recognition, CCTV, banking systems, my number…even my dog has to be microchipped.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

CCP

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Now, they announced that starting mid-November users must have a phone number registered before even being able to make accounts.

With this; and the anti-cyber bullying law, and being fined for liking tweets, the LDP is moving to suppress an undercurrent of dissent against its one party rule and kleptocratic policies.

It hasn't spilled over into the mainstream, Dentsu controlled media yet but is apparent online.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Don't think this is a coincidence after the cyberbullying act has become law. YJ commenters gotta be careful what they say about certain government officials who might easily feel "bullied".

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wait till the big bosses in California finds out, and they will straighten them out.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Say the wrong thing and someone will be sending the yaks to have a wee chat with you. The West is increasingly emulating China, so Japan is just leading the pack here.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

How does Jenny feel about her number being used as an example in the news story?

I guess she is ok, no difference than other people seeing it written on the wall.

eight six seven five three oh nine….

Tommy Tutone.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I can't believe people still use Yahoo! Yahoo! Japan is one of the ugliest and most convoluted websites out there. But I understand why it is so popular here. When Yahoo! made the switch to each country having its own Yahoo! that focusses primarily on domestic issues Yahoo! died in pretty much every country. But since Japanese are extremely focussed on how and what is said about them, and how insular it can be, it has thrived here and almost here alone. They probably also want you to register your phone number in 全角 characters, and then add Kanji to a line in your profile, and if you can't you won't be able to proceed to the next stage. haha.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Now, they announced that starting mid-November users must have a phone number registered before even being able to make accounts. 

Plenty of time to make accounts before then.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most just require an email and username,no registration

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yahoo! is still a thing?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

My Yahoo UK email is the longest one I have had. Since 1997, 25 years. I got a message from them congratulating me.

Yahoo Auction still functions in Japan very well too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yahoo Japan sucks.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The phone number requirement follows the creation last month of the Japan Fact-Check Center, an NPO largely funded by Yahoo! and Google and run by scholars and journalists with the goal of curbing misinformation online, especially with regards to COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Are Gafa turning into the ministry of truth in Japan? Who is going to check that they are not spreading propaganda instead of facts? Is money deciding now what is the only truth?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

When did you realize that the free world resembles Putin's Russia

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yahoo is getting a lot of traction in Japan through their Paypay.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Since Vladimir Putin blocked Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in March, Russia has been pushing away from the global internet at a rapid pace.

Notable bans: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google News, BBC News, NPR, Die Welt, AOL, Ukrayinska Pravda, Meduza.io, Interfax-Ukraine, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe sites, Voice of America, Clarin.com, Quora, Amnesty International, and Chess.com.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yahoo Japan mostly belongs to Softbank

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Since Vladimir Putin blocked Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in March, Russia has been pushing away from the global internet at a rapid pace.

Notable bans: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google News, BBC News, NPR, Die Welt, AOL, Ukrayinska Pravda, Meduza.io, Interfax-Ukraine, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe sites, Voice of America, Clarin.com, Quora, Amnesty International, and Chess.com.

That is what dictators do!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The problem with free speech is people are so gullible. They say thoughts travel faster in a vacuum. The internet has exposed this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kind of censorship.btw freedom of speech is guaranteed by constitution so some good lawyer can have very good case....

2 ( +5 / -3 )

There are free services on the Internet that let you receive sms from these services. You can use them to avoid giving your own mumber. So useless to require it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yahoo Japan is the number one site in Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@WeiWei - yes, there are, however finding one that actually works, is tough these days.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Irresponsible Yahoo Japan had done nothing about this hotbed and expansion device of discrimination for a long time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think the world would be a better place if people were held accountable online to the same degree they are offline.

With that said, I would rather just not be able to comment in threads than give my phone number out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

YahooJapan is not just the number one site in Japan, it is the source of news for most of the population that is internet capable. Next time you hear some news from a local, ask where they got the news and there is an excellent chance it is from YahooJapan. Didou is right. And if he/she is not, well, provide some evidence we are wrong. I don't get this negging and then providing nothing. But there is too much simplistic feeling that drives comments and responses without acknowledgement of that. Where do these feelings come from? The internet provides some chance for us to interrogate ourselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My Yahoo UK email is the longest one I have had

it’s my only contact, always I have to change my email. We need email for life, private with no personal information. I can’t buy anything unless I agree to cookies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Personally, I disagree with imposing a censorship-like system to disrupt our freedom of speech.

Having said that, because I also often see purely hostile comments there, to an extent, this system might work in democratic states.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To have people express their opinions is important, but not to the point of letting any space become a collection of lies and disinformation. This measure will likely have a cooing effect on the comments in Yahoo! Japan, but if the option is to have endless amounts of comments saying false things that can even endanger the health or lives of the people that are mislead by them it seems justified.

It would be much better to have effective moderation to stop the trolling and disinformation but it seems the situation is already completely out of control at the site, so much more strict measures have become necessary, this could be a lesson for other sites to do things on time to avoid having the same problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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