A Facebook-like social network has appeared on a North Korean web server, apparently installed by the state-run Internet service provider.
The site, which was spotted by Doug Madory at Dyn Research, is available at www.starcon.net.kp. It’s running PHP Dolphin, a do-it-yourself social network application that advertises to allow anyone to create their own social network.
It doesn’t look like any customization has been done, so why it’s appeared and what it’s for is a mystery. It could even have been a trial that was inadvertently made public.
Star is the name of the Internet service provider in North Korea.
The site has already attracted a number of curious Internet surfers to sign up, but there isn’t much to see. It’s devoid of content except for a few messages users outside of North Korea are posting.
The DPRK has one of the world’s strictest Internet censorship systems and the vast majority of citizens are not allowed access. Those that do have access are closely monitored, so the idea that a social network could exist on the Internet for domestic use is difficult to see.
Of course, someone has already made a Kim Jong Un account.
An interesting note: every posting and message immediately shows up as 30 minutes old, presumably because the Dolphin software doesn’t recognize North Korea’s recently created time zone, which is 30 minutes off most of the rest of the world.
Enjoy it while you can. I expect the site will be taken down when an engineer at the ISP realizes it’s public and attracting attention.