Facebook deletes North Korean account, but it resurfaces

Facebook said the site violated its terms of service

A Facebook account established by a North Korea-linked Web site was deleted by the social networking service on Friday, but a new group sprang up over the weekend to take its place.

The account belonged to Uriminzokkiri, a Web site that provides Korean-language news and propaganda from North Korea's central news agency. The Web site appears to be run from servers in China but is ultimately controlled from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

The Facebook group appeared on Thursday and carried links to articles on the Uriminzokkiri Web site and videos on the site's YouTube channel. In its short life the Facebook group managed to attract a handful of Facebook friends before becoming unavailable during the Friday U.S. business day.

"The page in question was removed because it violated our terms of use," said Kumiko Hidaka, a Facebook spokeswoman by e-mail.

Facebook did not immediately say which of its terms of use were broken, but section 16 puts usage restrictions on countries on the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control list that reads: "If you are located in a country embargoed by the United States or are on the U.S. Treasury Department's list of Specially Designated Nationals you will not engage in commercial activities on Facebook (such as advertising or payments) or operate a Platform application or website."

North Korea appears on the U.S. government's list.

But over the weekend a replacement account was launched and is still available at time of writing. It carries content similar to the original site and has attracted almost 400 "friends" since it became available.

The group is listed on the Uriminzokkiri Web site so appears to be an official channel, but little information is available regarding the account holder. The profile details it as belonging to a single male who wants to network and meet friends and has interests in Korean reunification and, perhaps bizarrely, lactose free milk.

Messages to the operator of the Facebook account went unanswered.

The Facebook group is the latest foray into social media by the Uriminzokkiri Web site, which is the closest thing North Korea has to an official home on the Internet.

About a month ago it started a YouTube channel carrying clips from state television and earlier this month launched a Twitter account. The Twitter account has attracted the most interest and already has more than 10,000 followers.

South Korea, which is technically still at war with North Korea,began blocking access to the Twitter account's home page on Thursday, but the blocking only affects the account's home page. Retweets are not blocked, and access is possible via a secure connection to Twitter and the Twitter API.

The Uriminzokkiri Web site and a handful of other sites linked to North Korea have been blocked by the South Korean government for several years.

Over the weekend the Web site began carrying information on software and techniques that would allow users to bypass the blocking. However it's unclear how potential users who would need to use the software could see the page if it's blocked.

(Additional reporting by IDG Korea's Hyuna Kim in Seoul.)

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags censorshipInternet-based applications and servicessocial networkingnorth koreasocial mediainternetFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?