In a ruling that is likely to affect negotiations between local internet service providers and global IT firms, the Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of Facebook on Thursday, saying it is unjust for South Korea's communications watchdog to slap a penalty on the social media giant for intentionally delaying traffic.
Last March, the Korea Communications Commission imposed a fine of some 328-thousand U.S. dollars on Facebook, arguing the company intentionally slowed down access speed to the social network, causing inconvenience to its users in Korea.
Facebook had filed a lawsuit to appeal the fine, and the administrative court said it does not believe Facebook intentionally caused the problem.
The communications commission said it's going to appeal to a higher court.
The watchdog claims that in 2016, Facebook cut a faster local server and rerouted the traffic to a slower overseas server in Hong Kong amid on-going negotiations on network usage fees with local telecom companies.
Until then, Facebook had been paying KT for the use of its cache server. Subscribers using local telecom companies, LG and SK, had been routed to the KT server when accessing the social network, but the two companies asked Facebook to use their own separate servers since the science ministry changed network-sharing regulations.
Facebook rejected the offer and cut off the KT server,offering the service via the server in Hong Kong instead.
Korean IT firms have been complaining about global content providers such as Youtube or Netflix, for not paying enough fees for using local networks, as there are no guidelines for foreign companies.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.