On April 26, Korea’s largest music site Melon addressed reports of illegal use of IDs that could affect its charts.

Previously, a news outlet had reported that an illegal application designed to control 30 to 50 IDs could systematically manipulate music charts including Melon’s. The outlet also shared a video of Chinese dealers using cellphones and computers to control approximately 10,000 IDs, tweaking the realtime charts as they liked.

Melon, however, stated that they had already been monitoring the reported illegal application. “We have been enforcing a monitoring and filtering system for unusual usage patterns for several years,” they said. “The manipulation by logging in through the illegal application mentioned in the media is an illegal pattern that’s already being monitored internally.”

Melon explained that because they have been aware of this illegal use of IDs for years, the data is automatically filtered with no effects on the music charts. The relevant IDs are locked as well.

“Unusual usage patterns since signing in or any attempts to manipulate the site have been filtered through big data until now,” they stated. “The relevant IP and IDs were all blocked and we’ll operate with strengthened enforcement in this area.”

They shared that every month, there are approximately 15,000 IPs blocked due to illegal usage including through the application mentioned above. According to Melon, the number of permanently blocked IPs including VPNs is approximately 1.4 million, while cases of ID protection through account lockout amounts to an average of 5,500 daily.

Melon acknowledged that attempts to circumvent the defense system and manipulate the charts were becoming increasingly intelligent. “Melon adopted i-Pins (Internet Personal Identification Numbers) developed to prevent the excessive collection of personal information adhering to government policies and is currently employing them,” they explained. “However, as illegal use of i-Pins has been steadily occurring, we plan to abolish authentication through i-Pins within a few days and further strengthen authentication through cell phones in order to completely block off illegal use.”

This issue of the potential for manipulation of music charts has become a hot topic after solo artist Nilo’s song “Pass” unexpectedly rose to the top of the charts. His agency has denied all accusations of digital chart manipulation.

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