David Blecken
Dec 8, 2016

DeNA apologises for "causing trouble" as content curation websites are suspended

The Japanese online media and ecommerce firm is rethinking its content strategy after accusations of plagiarism and inaccuracy.

Welq's home page is now an apology message. Inset: CEO Isao Moriyasu.
Welq's home page is now an apology message. Inset: CEO Isao Moriyasu.

DeNA, a Japanese mobile gaming, ecommerce and online media company, has acknowledged wrongdoing in response to allegations of publishing plagiarised content on some of its websites.

The company’s CEO, Isao Moriyasu, apologised yesterday at a news conference in Tokyo “for causing trouble”.

The scandal began when it emerged that Welq, a content-curation website providing medical information, had published inaccurate articles and had encouraged contributors to repurpose information from other sources without attribution. Welq accepted content from a wide range of sources, apparently operating in a similar manner to Wikipedia.

Many of Welq’s users are people looking for medical treatment. At its peak, the website attracted a monthly audience of more than 6 million, according to Nielsen research into smartphone users.

DeNa has suspended Welq and is understood to have shut down nine other websites indefinitely, including Mery, a fashion-related publication. DeNA is expected to launch an investigation by a third party into the practices behind its websites. Moriyasu will take a 30 percent pay cut in a gesture of atonement, according to an earlier article by The Wall Street Journal.

DeNA was founded in 1999 and owns the mobile gaming platform Mobage as well as a baseball team, the Yokohama DeNA Baystars.

Source:
Campaign Japan

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