North Korea Denies Using Twitter, Facebook & YouTube

Last week, bloggers, newspapers and other media outlets around the globe were duped into believing that North Korea had opened their own Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts to spread propaganda through social media. According to new information released today by Forbes, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is not using any of these networks. Rather, the accounts are being run by government supporters living abroad. These supporters seem to be doing a pretty good job though, as they had most of the online world believing that they were the North Korean government.

An official from the North Korean government told Forbes that they had absolutely nothing to do with this social media propaganda campaign and that these sites are still banned in the country. The official, Alejandro Cao de Benos, said, “Any kind of IT-based communication is interesting for the DPRK, [but] such websites will never be run by our Government directly.”

The really surprising thing is that apparently before Forbes, no media outlets tried to confirm whether or not the accounts were being run by the North Korean Government. The Forbes article elaborates:

How did Forbes get its hands on such contrarian, breaking news? We emailed a press request through North Korea’s official website. Apparently, we were the only ones: “You are the first magazine in the world that wanted to confirm such news,” said Cao de Benos.

“We think that there is plenty of misinformation, speculation and sensationalism regarding the reality of North Korea,” said the official. “This is the hypocrisy of a society that calls itself ‘democratic’ but is in reality fearful of the ideological power and influence from our side.”

Of course, there is still a question of whether or not these accounts truly are hoaxes. We’ll have to take this official’s word for it that North Korea’s government has nothing to do with them, whatsoever. And really, what is the difference between a propaganda campaign run directly by the government or one that is simply tweeting the government’s agenda?

But if the North Korean official is speaking accurately when he says that Forbes is the only magazine to contact them to find out if they were involved in running these accounts then I think we’ve got a lot to think about. Can you believe that media outlets of all kinds reported that North Korea had launched a social media propaganda campaign without so much as an ounce of evidence? How embarrassed do we all feel for falling for this purported hoax?

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