Criticism is growing over Facebook’s alleged two-faced attitude after it became known it had filed a lawsuit with a Korean court in order to avoid paying a fine imposed by the state-run Korea Communications Commission (KCC).

The lawsuit seems to indicate Facebook has overturned its position that it respected the Korean government’s policy on regulations and that it would make sincere efforts to smoothly carry out negotiations with Korean internet service providers (ISPs) on sharing data traffic costs.

On March 31, the KCC imposed a$368,000 fine on Facebook for inconveniencing customers of SK Broadband, an affiliate of SK Telecom, and LG Uplus by randomly changing the path to access the social media platform. The KCC imposed the fine after conducting an inspection into complaints of users who suffered the access speed slowdown.

At the time, suspicions were raised that one of the core reasons for randomly changing the access path was conflicts between the U.S. social networking giant and SK Broadband and LG Uplus over network usage fees.

Regarding the issue, a Facebook spokesman said, “We strive to deliver optimal performance for all our users.

However, the legal action was seen by some as running counter to the position delivered by Kevin Martin, vice president for mobile and global access policy at Facebook, during his meeting with KCC Chairman Lee Hyo-sung in January. At the time, the vice president vowed to carry out smooth negotiations with local ISPs over cost-sharing for maintaining Facebook’s data traffic-heavy services.

Facebook has been in disputes with SK Broadband and LG Uplus as the U.S. firm has not paid for using the two firms’ internet networks and also refused to pay for operating a new cache server used to save internet content locally in temporary storage. Using such a server helps improve Facebook’s connection speed.

Critics alleged the U.S. firm’s legal action was to gain the upper hand in the ongoing negotiations with SK Broadband to decide on how to share the data traffic costs.

_ Korea Times


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