Global streaming giant Netflix has edited a phone number that appears in its global hit series “Squid Game” after South Koreans who use it or similar combinations were deluged with calls.
The South Korean-made series has topped Netflix popularity charts in more than 80 countries since its launch last month and is on track to become its most-watched series ever.
The nine-episode drama incorporates uncompromising violence and addresses widening economic inequality.
It sees hundreds of cash-strapped people compete in a series of children’s games to win the final reward of 45.6 billion won (€33m), with the losers killed.
To take part, they have to call a number on a business card printed with symbols.
But while film and television makers usually use fake numbers in such circumstances, adding 010 – the standard prefix for South Korean mobiles – to the eight digits on the card generated a real phone number.
It belongs to a South Korean woman who complained she had received “nonstop” calls and text messages, she told the Money Today newspaper.
“I’m receiving calls and text messages nonstop after Squid Game was launched, disrupting my daily life,” the woman said, whose identity was withheld.
Other South Koreans with similar numbers also complained of prank calls.
Some callers said in the dead of night that they “wanted to join Squid Game” before hanging up.
With complaints growing, Netflix said it would edit out the phone number.
The company was “working to resolve this matter, including editing scenes showing the phone number where necessary”, Netflix said in a statement.
By today, the eight-digit number that appears in the first two episodes had been replaced with a six-digit version.
When called, an automated response said: “The number you have dialled is not available.”