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North Korea Looking For Friends On Facebook 183

crimeandpunishment writes "North Korea has apparently decided this social networking thing is worth doing. Just days after launching Twitter and YouTube accounts, it appears to have added Facebook to the list. It probably won't get too many friends in South Korea, which has already blocked access to the North Korean Twitter account for containing 'illegal information' under its security laws...and says the Facebook page could suffer the same fate."
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North Korea Looking For Friends On Facebook

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  • This is rather stupid, yes, lets just put our national identity on servers owned by governments hostile to us... Makes perfect sense right?
    • by ZERO1ZERO ( 948669 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:43PM (#33335626)
      no different than most other face book users .. Except replace 'national identity' with 'personal identity' and 'governments hostile' with '3rd party organisation that has agendas other than making it easy for you to post pics of fluffy bunnies and Like This'
      • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:51PM (#33335690)

        no different than most other face book users ..

        It has a completely meaning when North Korea 'cancels' the account of one of its citizen.

        • by DarkKnightRadick ( 268025 ) <> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:02PM (#33335774) Homepage Journal

          Their citizens can get on the Internets?

          • Re:Rather stupid... (Score:5, Informative)

            by jonfr ( 888673 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:37PM (#33336004) Homepage

            No. Only the military can get to the internet, and people connected to the leader of North-Korea. Everyone else can use the North-Korea intranet that they have if that person is lucky.

            The rest has nothing but media owned by the government, that is spewing out propaganda about South-Korea, U.S and others.

            North-Korea does not have official connection with the internet.


            • To be fair though, it's just as well, considering how much trouble you can get in for disagreeing with the regime or failing to look happy enough.
            • by zx-15 ( 926808 )
              I just followed a few links from the one you've given. And yeah, apparently there is a national intranet in North Korea Kwangmyong [] with 'free' dial-up access. I wonder if anyone getting on that network is being monitored.

              Anyway this whole thing looks so deliciously similar to a network in movie Avalon []. Actually it's like that movie is reenacted in real life in North Korea. Oppressive communist government? Check. Network somewhat accessible to the general public, from whimsically unreliable terminals. Che
            • Re:Rather stupid... (Score:4, Informative)

              by e4g4 ( 533831 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @01:17AM (#33337438)
              I highly recommend The Vice Guide to North Korea [] for some insight into what their citizens can and can't do.
              • +1 - **Fantastic** documentary if you're interested in N. Korea.

                It's a whole 'nother world and these guys were crazy enough to go all the way in. What makes them even crazier is that they're American.
                • by Creepy ( 93888 )

                  Reminded me of the description of travel some (American) friends of mine told after visiting the Soviet Union during the Cold War (they were architecture students). Everything they did was escorted, and the empty banquet halls was dead on, but supposedly the food was better. Rooms were always bugged, and apparently some of the bugs were very obvious.

        • Really? Cuz I got a completely impression... ;)
    • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:39PM (#33336024)
      "lets just put our national identity on servers owned by governments hostile to us"

      It's not like they're uploading critical information (i.e. classified materials) to facebook. The worst the US could do is to deface the page. Of course if they were going to do that then they could have already set up a fake north Korean page and filled it with lies. Of course, there's no point in doing either of these things because there's nothing to be gained. It's not like the US needs to change the public view of North Korea.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:41PM (#33335612) Best Korea.
    • by Suki I ( 1546431 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:29PM (#33335982) Homepage Journal
      You forgot the AWESOME visual []! (Safe for work outside of the Koreas)
      • You mean outside of South Korea, somehow I doubt that Kim Jong Il would be upset if you had materials suggesting that North Korea is super awesome.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dj245 ( 732906 )
      My wife is Korean, but born in Japan. Her grandparents traveled to Japan about 65 years ago. I don't have their whole story, but it isn't a good one. The US is at least partly responsible for dividing the two Korea's at the end of WWII, which eventually led to the Korean War. The Koreans in recent history have had a horrible time and most of it is the fault of foreign power (Japan, US/USSR/ etc). The progress South Korea has made since the end of combat operations (the war never ended) is amazing consi
  • Zynga (Score:5, Funny)

    by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:44PM (#33335638) Homepage

    Kim Jong-Il heard about Farmville and thought that sounded fun-.

    • Kim Jong-Il heard about Farmville and thought that sounded fun-.

      Really? I heard he was going to use it to better train his farmers.

    • Re:Zynga (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:29PM (#33336302)

      Kim Jong-Il heard about Farmville and thought that sounded fun

      Mr Kim, or as he prefers to be called "the dear leader", doesn't need Facebook to play games with farming or people's lives. He has control over millions of real people, all of whom can be forced to participate in whatever macabre social experiment he chooses to conduct, except that here in the real world there are no saves, no continues and you get only 1 life. The continued existence of the North Korean Worker's Party and the monstrous state that it has produced is one of the greatest ongoing travesties of social justice in our time. It is hard to imagine any other place on earth where the ordinary citizen is worse off than in North Korea. At least in Somalia and Sudan the people have some inkling of what the outside world is like and whether or not they are being lied to. The people of North Korea, on the other hand, have been so thoroughly brainwashed and controlled that the outside world essentially does not exist for them or at least not in any way that is meaningful. Even Cuba is practically a paradise by way of comparison to North Korea. Mr Kim and his father are disgraces to the entire human race, in the same league as Hitler and Stalin before them, and history will forever damn their names, just as surely as Hitler and Stalin are damned, when Korea is eventually re-united under a freely elected and democratic government of by and for the people of Korea. In the meantime the rest of the free world should do whatever it can to hasten that day.

      • Re:Zynga (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lwsimon ( 724555 ) <> on Monday August 23, 2010 @12:10AM (#33337120) Homepage Journal
        Re-uniting Korea is going to be a nightmare. The South's infrastructure cannot handle the hordes of starving people form the North, and those people will never, ever be able to live productive lives in a free society - they simply don't know how.

        Reunification will cause an immediate economic collapse like the world has seldom seen, followed by at least one generation of chaos as the brainwashed masses slowly die off from old age.

        Of course, it needs to be done - but it is going to *suck*.
        • Re:Zynga (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @04:56AM (#33338394) Homepage

          [North Korean] people will never, ever be able to live productive lives in a free society - they simply don't know how.

          Most East Germans managed to adapt pretty well after the reunification, although North Korea is probably a bit worse than the GDR was. I don't think that Koreans are THAT much different from Germans. But yeah, it isn't going to be easy.

          • Re:Zynga (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Monday August 23, 2010 @07:08AM (#33338912)

            As another poster pointed out, "a bit worse" is an understatement. East Germany was much better off relative to West than North Korea is to South. Here's a post I made about this on another forum:

            In the long run, sure. But even if DPRK were to collapse tomorrow, it's just not feasible for the two countries to fully reunite within several decades, at least. The comparison to West/East germany was already made, but maybe some numbers will make the scale of the problem sink in better. Raising the taxes in the south by a few percent isn't going to do it.

            East Germany: 16m
            West Germany: 63m
            3.9x higher population
            GDP per capita (couldn't find the raw numbers)
            West Germany has ~2.5x GDP

            North 24m
            South 48m
            2x higher population
            GDP per capita
            North 555
            South 19,300
            South is 35x higher. Thirty five times!

            From a pure humanistic point of view it would probably be better if the united Koreas were together but half as rich as the South used to be than for both to continue as-is, but I don't see that happening. There were twice as many West Germans for every East German as there are South Koreans to North Koreans, and the productivity and education was also much closer. The huge disparity in Koreas means that southerners could just adopt a northerner with their disposable income, but actually bringing them up to a comparable level would be a mind-boggling task.

            To be honest, I don't know what could be the other option. If it collapsed on its own without our involvement, the best bet would probably to leave them be and hope somebody more moderate gets into power and then slowly open up the trade and travel until the country reaches parity. If, on the other hand, there was an armed conflict and we (as in, everybody who isn't DPRK) rolled in to Pyongyang, my guess would be to install a puppet government and have them implement reforms while we pump in aid (insert your favorite development path), again, until there isn't such a huge difference. The population question would probably be the most difficult -- do we restrict travel, only let people into the north, allow working or student visas?

            • I'm sure your economic calculations are pretty much correct and that "a bit worse" was a big understatement from my side. Great post!

              I mostly took issue with "[North Korean] people will never, ever be able to live productive lives in a free society - they simply don't know how." as it comes off as quite racist. I'm sure that most North Korean individuals would be able to live a productive life in a free society IF given the chance.
              • That's a rather generous use of the word "racist."

                I honestly think you could be wrong here. It's not an issue of race AT ALL - it's an issue of ingrained culture. We're seeing it in Iraq, in particular, as well as in Russia. Adaptation to freedom DOESN'T happen "overnight." There's cultural issues to work through, issues that are ingrained into people for GENERATIONS. I'm not saying it can't - or shouldn't - be tried, just that it's not going to be as easy as you're making out.
        • Why does it need to be done? The important thing is bringing North Korea into the modern world. To make the North Koreans productive again. Reunification is not necessary for that. Just economic reform. Of course the North Koreans have to want it and maybe they don't.

    • Kim Jong-Il heard about Farmville and thought that sounded fun-.

      No, I think it's just because he's so wonewy. So vewy wonewy.

  • So North Korea is publishing videos of their soldiers dancing [] on YouTube now. Seems to me like they are trying to compete with the Filipino prisoners who performed Thriller [].

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by linumax ( 910946 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:46PM (#33335654)
  • no points (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theheadlessrabbit ( 1022587 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:48PM (#33335668) Homepage Journal

    As much as I disagree with just about everything NK stands for, South Korea isn't winning an points in my book by blocking access.

    note: before any westerners point out that blocking access will only spike curiosity and make those in SK more interested it the account, I would like to point out that Korean culture values authority far more than ours, and from my own experience living there, the children in south Korea had little to no interest in the North.

    • I admire your noble standard for morality of governmental control over its citizens, but I have to point out every government has a strategic interest to block few very controversial information from getting exposed to the general public. One good example would be the recent expose of the classified military documents related to the war in Afghanistan. Why can't the US government be completely honest about what's happening in the US?
  • has most facebook friends! has most tweets!

    south korea only has glum relatives and miserly business contacts. north korea has loving adoration and sworn allegiance bonded in blood and exaltation for the perpetual people's struggle and revolutionary apparatus! like it! like it! like it!

    our great shining leader tweets 5,000 times a day with 3 million followers 24 hours a day no time for sleep! the people's struggle provides as sleep! each tweet a pearl of wisdom his grateful followers pore over for eternal wisdom in philosophy, economics, military strategy, acupuncture, home economics, and closet organization! retweet! retweet! retweet!

    the imperial aggressor america and her boot linking sycophant japan will suffer under the boot of the full force of the people's glorious tweeting and facebook friending struggle!

    • our great shining leader tweets 5,000 times a day

      1 day / 5000 = 17.28 seconds
      [from Google calulator]

      • Oh boy, what are we going to do with you? Clearly the dear old leader would be sending even more twats than 5000 a day, because he is the best leader and all people love him.

        To answer your question: yes, he would not be sending those twats all by himself, there would be the necessary resources allocated for that work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by CodeBuster ( 516420 )
      It seems that someone has been drinking those, "cesspool waters of American capitalism" again. Of course what better beverage to have with your "double bread with meat" []?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anybody suggested them page to Justin Bieber :D

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:57PM (#33335744)
    of North Korea drinking it up with China and Cuba on a Friday night. Or better yet, people will start tagging goatse as NK.
  • by igotmybfg ( 525391 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:57PM (#33335746) Homepage a ridiculous concept
    • by MRe_nl ( 306212 )



    • by nanoakron ( 234907 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:15PM (#33336206)

      like holocaust denial in Germany?

    • a ridiculous concept

      We are talking about North Korea here, the ridiculous is quite routine for them. Indeed, if they even knew enough to know how foolish they appear to the outside world, that would be something, but they don't.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward a ridiculous concept

      Wikileaks... USA...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by selven ( 1556643 )

      And before people start yelling about "exceptions to freedom of speech", consider this. It is in fact legal to say "Barack Obama is a pedophile" in public, even though it's defamatory - I just did and there's nothing wrong with it. What's illegal is presenting it as fact. Same with "give me 2000 dollars or I'll shoot you". You can even say "fire" in a crowded theater, you just can't shout it at the top of your lungs. It's all about context and intent. Laws that make certain patterns of information illegal n

      • Is that South Korea is not the US, and doesn't have the same free speech laws. Not everyone subscribes to the same idea of freedom as the US. Some places have freedoms the US doesn't, some lack freedoms the US has.

        Free countries don't mean unlimited freedom, and not all free countries are of the same mind on what freedoms people should have.

    • by Joebert ( 946227 )
      Oh yeah? Then why does science call everything laws?
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by trytoguess ( 875793 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:58PM (#33335752)

    Facebook is telling me NK's page no longer exists... thought it's twitter and youtube is still around. Also, what do people make of NK identifying itself as male, and being interested in men?

  • I'd befriend them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:06PM (#33335800)

    But then they'd get access of all my friends and activities.

    With all the kidnapping they've done in Japan, Korea and elsewhere, who knows what is the real purpose of that page.

    I'd say collecting information on potential targets is high on the list.

    / puts on the multi-ply tinfoil hat.

    • I don't know about that. This is a fan page... do you get access to that kind of info on people who 'like' your page? I always assumed not, though I admit I've never actually researched it.

      FB user name is 'uriminzokkiri' for those who don't want to RFTA, btw
  • It could produce drama.
  • What happens... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghettoboy22 ( 723339 ) * <> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:09PM (#33335824) Homepage
    When you un-friend Kim Jong-Il?
  • Current SKorean government is pretty totalitarian, so it's not unexpected that they will block access to anything from NKorea. As far as freedom to access to information is concerned, these "official" social networking activities from NKorea is nothing more than propaganda laden bs, so I really don't see any problem. It's not like they are trying to spread information regarding true reality of the NKorean citizens. If you wanted information on the reality of NKorea there are many documentaries produced by N
  • by pgn674 ( 995941 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:18PM (#33335902) Homepage

    uriminzokkiri (uriminzok) on Twitter []

    YouTube - uriminzokkiri's Channel []

    Facebook | Uriminzokkiri []

    Looks like the original Facebook "people" account they made was removed (probably by North Korea when they realized it didn't make sense to have a "people" account), and replaced with a "page" thing. I noticed the original account's username was uriminzokkiri, and the new one is uriminzokkiriLike, so maybe North Korea changed accounts primarily because they want the Like button? Lots of guessing here.

  • by GumphMaster ( 772693 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:44PM (#33336394)
    Is trading with the DPRK legal in the United States? If Facebook/Twitter/etc. knowingly continued to provide a service the DPRK regime would they be in violation of US law?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by belmolis ( 702863 )

      Simply providing a place for communication appears not to fall under the US trade restrictions. There are Iranians living in Iran with FB accounts.

  • I'm curious how they are able to block one single page. Does SK have a "great firewall", too?

    • I'm curious about that aspect too... Blocking only specific web pages would require very sophisticated deep packet inspection much more advanced than China's firewall for example. The filter would have to replace responses to only certain paths on a domain with 404 html pages or 302 redirects to other pages that explain why the original page can not be viewed. It would be wholly impractical to block a whole nation the size of South Korea in this way.
  • This is great news for me: it means I will not have the lowest Friends count on Facebook :-)

  • I think it's a pity that South Korea decided to block access to these North Korean outlets. Even if North Korea doesn't give its citizens the same benefits, I would imagine it helps to know what people on the other side are saying and are being told. More knowledge and understanding is a Good Thing, particularly when it comes to avoiding and resolving conflicts.

  • South Korea, which has already blocked access to the North Korean Twitter account for containing 'illegal information' under its security laws...and says the Facebook page could suffer the same fate."

    Illegal information? What pray, may I ask is "illegal information"?

    It's a rhetorical question Farley!!

    S. Korea, meet the kettle. If you're going off about N. Korea censoring their media, you need stop pulling the same type of crap they do.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.