It’s happened again … and it won’t be the last time.
The parody DPRK News Service Twitter account has fooled someone and made it onto national television in the U.S.
The subject in question was a couple of computer problems that hit United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning. The United problem, which was blamed on a network router, caused a nationwide grounding of all flights that weren’t in the air while the NYSE glitch resulted in a 3.5-hour halt of trading.
It’s probably the first use of Periscope, Twitter’s new video live streaming tool, from Pyongyang.
Coleen Baik, a designer who previously worked at Twitter, is in North Korea at the moment as part of the Women Cross DMZ movement. The group are in the headlines for their plan to cross from North Korea to South Korea at the border in Panmunjom, if both countries allow it. Right now that appears in jeopardy.
She’s been chronically the trip on Twitter, naturally, with photos and live video.
On the flight to Pyongyang with a little light reading. pic.twitter.com/rS1oZbhwon
— Coleen Baik (@colbay) May 19, 2015
Hackers have hit a Facebook page for North Korean airline Air Koryo replacing it with messages in support of Islamic State militants and against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The page shot to fame earlier in the year when it began replying to user comments and questions about trips to North Korea. It claimed to be the airline’s official page, but appeared to be run by an Air Koryo agent in Russia.
The hack came a day after a similar attack on the Facebook and Twitter pages of U.S. Central Command. Hackers typically gain access to Facebook accounts by tricking users into giving away their passwords or by gaining access to their email accounts and then sending password reset messages. More >
One of the most popular YouTube channels carrying North Korean content appears to have closed.
DPRK Music Channel posted music videos of North Korean patriotic songs and traditional ballads, usually sourced from Korean Central TV. The channel had amassed more than 1.3 million views as of February this year, making it the number six most popular channel although within striking distance of the fifth- and fourth-ranked channels.
But visit its YouTube channel page today and all you see is a message saying the account has been deleted.
The most popular North Korea-related YouTube channel was deleted by the video website on Wednesday for copyright infringement.
[April 26 update: The channel is now back. Read on for details of how that happened]
The Stimme Koreas channel had amassed around 15 million views for the hundreds of videos it hosted, ranking it above second-placed North Korea Today.
It had attracted more than 12,000 subscribers but today all those subscribers saw was a blank page with a message from YouTube:
“YouTube account stimmekoreas has been terminated because we received multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement from claimants including: DPRKMusicChannel.”
It’s been almost a year since I published the second edition of The North Korea YouTube List, a survey of YouTube channels that carry material related to North Korea.
The latest version includes several new channels and changes throughout.
Perhaps the biggest change is that the DPRK Music Channel, previously ranked as the most popular DPRK-related channel with 11.7-million views, has stopped updating. The last video was uploaded eight months ago.
However, its popularity and the large number of videos means it remains the top-ranking channel with 16.5-million views. More >
The app, iJuche, was developed and published in late 2013 and was highlighted on NorthKoreaTech earlier this week. That publicity was apparently enough to get it blocked.
“I just got a call from a person at Apple informing me that iJuche has been found to be in violation of South Korea’s “National Security Law” and has been removed from the South Korean App Store,” said Peter Curtis, the developer of the app.
Users in South Korea that have already downloaded a copy of iJuche, or those with App Store subscriptions in other countries, should still be able to access news through the app, but new users won’t find it available for download in the Korean App Store.
South Korea’s National Security Law is a decades-old law that bans anti-state acts that endanger national security. In recent years, this has been used to ban the redistribution of North Korean propaganda on the Internet.
That means many websites from North Korean and those sympathetic to the country are blocked from local Internet users. It’s also been used to prosecute local Internet users who re-distribute North Korean content, sometimes by simply posting it on a website.
The law has many critics who maintain it restricts freedom of speech and doesn’t belong in a modern, developed society like the South Korea of today.
To-date, most of the sites and services blocked under the law have been those in Korean, although late last year a portion of the NK News website was also cut off from South Korean Internet connections.
KCNA Watch, a service developed by New Zealand-based Frank Feinstein, collates the daily output of KCNA from its website and makes it easy to navigate and search. It’s often easier to find articles on KCNA Watch than through the official KCNA website, and Feinstein’s site maintains the original versions of stories.
The importance of that feature was highlighted last month when KCNA deleted hundreds of articles mentioning Jang Song Thaek, the purged uncle of Kim Jong Un. The articles remain available through KCNA Watch.