Socialism Gets Social as North Korea Joins Facebook

How do you combat a history of tyrannical repression, human rights violations, and an economy so crippled by socialism that millions of people have died of starvation? Create a Facebook group!

It turns out social media strategies aren’t just for big corporations and trendy startups after all. Despite its own policy of banning Internet use for the majority of its population, North Korea has set about attempting to repair its tarnished reputation in the West with a Facebook profile under the name “uriminzokkiri.”

Appropriately enough for a country sometimes referred to as the world’s most isolated, the name translates to “on our own as a nation.” According to the Facebook page, North Korea is male, interested in other males (but only for networking purposes!) and has 65 friends. The Facebook page is only the latest in North Korea’s foray into social media, which began last week with a Twitter account, followed by a YouTube page under the same name.

The country’s tweets mainly praise Kim Jong-Il and scorn the United States, Japan and South Korea, while linking to propaganda videos on YouTube.

While the account holders’ access to North Korean media for reposting suggests its authenticity, North Korea has not made any claim to ownership of the sites through traditional diplomatic channels.

South Korea’s policy of banning North Korean propaganda has already lead the country to block access to North Korea’s Twitter account, and the country told the Associated Press it will investigate the Facebook account as well.

Those of us who enjoy more lax censorship rules – but no command of the Korean language – can still attempt to string together the country’s outbursts via Google Translate.

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