• Kyodo

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Yahoo Japan Corp. said Wednesday it will delete hateful and defamatory comments from all of its online posting sites with the help of artificial intelligence, beefing up efforts to tackle cyberbullying after the suspected suicide of a reality television show star.

The operator of Yahoo online services is strengthening its monitoring of hateful posts following the death earlier this year of Hana Kimura, a cast member of the popular reality show “Terrace House,” who had been the target of bullying on social media.

Yahoo Japan will release a list of expressions that could be taken as malicious and clarify the criteria for deleting. Posts that are judged harmful by AI will be automatically removed.

If a user known to have made inappropriate posts gets a different ID, Yahoo Japan will suspend them.

To ensure freedom of expression, Yahoo Japan will accept inquiries and complaints by users whose posts were removed.

The company will make public details, including the number of deleted posts as well as internal systems and rules pertaining to the removal, by releasing reports on a regular basis.

“We will make all-out efforts to deter and curb harmful posts,” said Kentaro Kawabe, president of Z Holdings Corp., the parent company of Yahoo Japan.

Yahoo Japan unveiled the measures after receiving a set of recommendations from a panel of experts who had discussed ways to tackle defamatory online posts.

The death in May of Kimura, a 22-year-old professional wrestler, sent shock waves across the nation. Police say she received around 300 hateful messages from approximately 200 accounts and believe the messages were what prompted her to take her own life.

A man in his 20s from Osaka Prefecture was referred to prosecutors last week for posting hateful messages on social media against Kimura.

He is suspected of having bullied Kimura through Twitter by anonymously and repeatedly posting malicious comments, such as “Hey, when are you going to die?” according to investigative sources.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 119 in Japan for immediate assistance. The TELL Lifeline is available for those who need free and anonymous counseling at 03-5774-0992. You can also visit telljp.com. For those in other countries, visit www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for a detailed list of resources and assistance.

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