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South Korea slaps Naver with $23m fine for rigging search results

Watchdog says algorithm favored group's online mall over rival sites

Naver commands more than a 70% market share in South Korea's online shopping searches. (Photo by Kotaro Hosokawa)

SEOUL -- South Korea's antitrust watchdog has ordered leading domestic tech group Naver to pay a fine of 26.7 billion won ($23 million) for engineering search results to favor products sold on its online mall.

Naver, which commands a share of over 70% in domestic e-commerce searches, displayed products sold by partner vendors at the top of search results, the Korea Fair Trade Commission said Tuesday. Goods sold by competing e-commerce sites were relegated to lower-ranked results, according to the commission.

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