Those North Korean social networking accounts are not actually from North Korea.

Posted: 24 Aug 2010   Print   Send a link
Forbes, 23 August 2010, Taylor Buley: "A North Korea government official tells Forbes that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is not using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as reported by thousands of publications worldwide. The accounts are run by government supporters, not government officials, living in Japan and China, not North Korea. Those social media sites are still banned in North Korea, says the official."

IDG News, 23 August 2010, Martyn Williams: "A Facebook account established by a North Korea-linked Web site was deleted by the social networking service on Friday, but a new group sprang up over the weekend to take its place. The account belonged to Uriminzokkiri, a Web site that provides Korean-language news and propaganda from North Korea's central news agency. The Web site appears to be run from servers in China but is ultimately controlled from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. ... 'The page in question was removed because it violated our terms of use,' said Kumiko Hidaka, a Facebook spokeswoman by e-mail. Facebook did not immediately say which of its terms of use were broken, but section 16 puts usage restrictions on countries on the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control list... . North Korea appears on the U.S. government's list. But over the weekend a replacement account was launched and is still available at time of writing. ... The profile details it as belonging to a single male who wants to network and meet friends and has interests in Korean reunification and, perhaps bizarrely, lactose free milk."

RFE/RL, Tangled Web, 23 August 2010, Luke Allnut: "If North Korea were tweeting it would seem to be the final nail in the coffin of the idea that social media -- or even going a bit further back, the Internet -- is somehow an exceptional medium in that it tends to lean toward the progressive and can only serve to emancipate."

See previous posts on 21 August and on 19 August, the latter including Bloomberg's prudent use of the adjectives "purported" and "suspected" in describing the pro-North Korean Twitter account. This social networking effort might be a classic black clandestine effort, with all the messages pro-Kim Jong-il for now, but eventually deviating from the party line, maybe supporting one faction over the other, as a way to sow discord inside the DPRK, or among its supporters.