Infographic: How South Korean Intelligence Interfered in Election

Since the Presdential elections last year, debate has continued over suspected election interference by the ruling Saenuri government. The National Intelligence Service is accused of using Twitter to influence discussion of the election in 2011 and 2012, and to suppress discussion of the election scandal itself.

A year after the accusations surfaced, prosecution continues, but is moving along so slowly that it seems like no progress has been made. Critics have grown frustrated, and the election interference issue has become a driving force in street protests, notably with the “How are you doing?” poster movement.

From Hankyoreh:

The number of tweets made by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) is about 30% of the total number produced by Korean citizens.





The head Prosecutor has confirmed that from 2011 to December 2012, NIS employees of the Psychological Operations Group made 22 million tweets from 2270 Twitter accounts, tweets that were systematically posted or re-tweeted.  This is 20,910,000 more tweets than had been found by earlier investigations. Due to limited resources for the investigation and court schedules, evaluating the tweets has become increasingly difficult. The number of NIS tweets identified as linked to interference in the presidential election and politics is expected to increase exponentially.



On the morning of November 4th, National Assembly Member Ahn Cheol-Soo (Independent) held a press conference at the Yeouido National Assembly Press Room in Seoul and recommended there be a special independent investigation into the claims of presidential election interference.






The process of investigating NIS tweets and the actual amount of tweets.

Building a Database

Time period of account activity: Sept. – Dec. 2012 (3 months)

1.2 million Twitter accounts

32 million tweets

Based on the results of an analysis of all tweets containing keywords that were from “the orders and keynotes from the NIS director”



Results of the First Investigation

Sept. 2012 – Dec. 2012 (3 months)

55,689 tweets related to election, politics.

383 accounts

(55,689 tweets)





Results of the Second Investigation

January 2011 – December 2012 (2 years)
1,210,228 tweets, of which 1,090,000 were from 2270 simultaneous re-tweeting accounts and 120,000 were from 383 separate accounts.







Actual Amount of Tweets (made public by the prosecutor on November 5th)

Jan. 2011 – Dec. 2012 (2 years)

22 million tweets from 2270 accounts, 95% of which were missed by earlier investigations.








At the hearing held on the 5th, Won Se-Hoon, former director of the National Intelligence Service, said, “[the NIS] took control of election discussion among Twitter users.”

The prosecution publicly disclosed the emails from Twitter team members Jang and Kim.

In an email entitled “April 15th, key points”: “Ahead of the elections, lead the discussion of the presidential elections for Twitter users.”

From an email entitled “Spread right wing ideas”: In a statement, one team member under police investigation said, “Among our key issues and key points to be shared, there were issues that had to be sent daily to conservative commentators’ Twitter accounts.”

Announcement of 1,210,000 illegal Tweets that were retweets of content from conservative commentators such as Byeon Hee-Jae.

Comments from Naver:


I’m at a loss for words, ke ke. Where are all those Ilbe bugs who were saying there weren’t that many comments?


This country’s gone insane.. We’re going backwards.


A creative way to show that there is no end…..


Goodbye Ms. Park! Go back to the past with Mr. Ki-Choon..


This country is losing its mind… Clearly she should be impeached, no? Those idiots who were tricked and voted for Park Geun-Hye should take some time to think about that..


Where are all those Ilbe bugs who kept going on about how three comments about the election couldn’t have any influence?? Three comments now turns into 20 million… Wow such “creative economics” [mocking President Park’s “creative economy” plan]…


So it’s true the NIS interfered in the election. Our nation’s future looks dark.


Before it was three comments, but now it’s up to 20.91 million. *shivers* It’s super “creative”.


Chicken Geun-Hye is so hideous.


Damn, the NIS doesn’t care about getting information, they just made a bunch of comments.

Comments from Daum


If it’s really this bad, well…have I been writing comments to NIS agents when I join discussions on political articles? Hah.


Working as a group like that is so extraordinary.. How long do they think they can cover it up?


The only answer is for the chicken bitch to step down. It was clearly a rigged election. This has already gone too far.


Before the 12.19 election… journalist Joo Jin-Woo from Naneun Ggomsuda said this. ‘Sometimes you actually win an election but lose by the ballot counting…’ I overlooked it at that time but damn… We’re the victims of a crazy government.


★I will never vote for freaking Saenuri. ★I will not support the Chosun, Joongang, or Donga newspapers. ★I will vote my whole life. ★The last stronghold of democracy is the organized power of the people. ★Until Park Geun-Hye steps down, I will cheer on from afar. ★Saenuri, the New Crazy Right, and the Kyohaksa publishing company should disappear!!! ★In this tough world, I will survive till the bitter end. Saenuri, and all those who are descended from pro-Japanese traitors, the day you fail I will make sure to slaughter 12 Hanwoo cows for a feast.


Ke ke ke, the whole country has been turned upside down by internet comments. But of course, it’s just some independent misdeed of an individual who has nothing to do with the Chicken [referring to Park Geun-Hye], right?


Are you trying to brainwash all of Korea’s netizens? Assholes.


So up to now, I’ve been arguing through internet comments with those f**cking NIS agents?? For years??


NIS bugs. Ilbe bugs. Fucking Gyeongsang bugs. North Korean defector bugs. The best among them is the hatchery Gyeongbuk Daegu’s Ilbe bugs.

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