Recently, numerous knife-stabbing incidents have been occurring in Korea. Before the attacks, the suspects posted warnings, revealing the location of where they would attack and how many people they would stab. Amidst this issue, the famous Korean anonymous online community, DC Inside, has come under scrutiny.
On August 4, News1 reported the recent incidents of “murder threats” that have emerged on DC Inside, highlighting that user behavior in the online community had gone too far. Recently, there have been many posts with murder threats from different regions on DC Inside, causing concern among the public.
For instance, a man in his 20s uploaded an online post threatening to “kill 20 women at Sillim Station on Wednesday.” The poster included a screenshot of his purchase of a sashimi knife. Many more posts like these gained attention in online communities, even though most of these posts were deleted shortly after posting, presumably due to the authors voluntarily removing them.
It was speculated that the people planning to do a stabbing rampage most likely resorted to posting warnings on DC Inside out of all the communities because of the anonymity. DC Inside allows users to write posts and upload images and videos without requiring membership registration or needing real-name verification. Due to the strong anonymity of the site, various boards are flooded with not only free expression but also profanity, hate speech, curses, and personal attacks. Those who write such posts typically use temporary nicknames and change their nicknames and passwords for each post they make.
About 16 pre-attack warnings have been posted on online communities, including DC Inside. A list that a netizen compiled of all the warnings posted so far reveals that the attacks will take place over the weekend of August 4 to 6, 2023.
Responding to this issue, a DC Inside representative stated that “most of the murder threat posts are made for attention-seeking purposes and are often meant as jokes.” They also mentioned that the company takes action to remove such posts and operates a reporting board, actively cooperating with the police when users report such incidents.
A bigger problem lies in the fact that the site does not have any authentication procedures.
People who write controversial posts often use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and the Tor browser to hide their IP addresses. The Tor browser is an anonymous network browser tool developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory. It uses a method of repeatedly routing users’ IP addresses through different countries to protect their identities. This makes it extremely difficult for authorities to track individuals who post threats.
However, in the case of murder threat posts, as the crime itself is classified as “terrorism,” it is considered a national disaster, which may involve the possibility of international cooperation. As murder threat posts continue on DC Inside, netizens are expressing concerns, calling for fundamental solutions.
Posters of murder threat posts appear to depend on DC Inside, and one even went so far as to threaten the National Assembly if the online community is shut down. The post said, “I will terrorize the National Assembly,” and they threatened the “lawmakers.”
If DC Inside gets shut down, I will put a bomb in the National Assembly… This is for real, if it gets shut down, I will stab the stupid XX lawmakers in the National Assembly to death at night.
— Anonymous poster on DC Inside
In response to the threat, the Yeongdeungpo Police Station has deployed additional patrol cars, and the National Assembly security team has strengthened its security measures, including wearing tasers.