North Korea had its own Facebook for a few hours

1 Jun 201614 Shares

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A North Korean Mark Zuckerberg seemingly launched the country’s first social media website but, unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

While North Korea has been dipping its toe in the water in terms of giving its citizens access to the internet, the idea that it would allow a social media website that would allow people to talk openly to each other would seem unlikely.

Yet, according to the BBC, a security researcher called Doug Madory got a glimpse into North Korea’s limited connection with the outside world only to find that a new social media website with obvious similarities to Facebook had been created.

Some of the features of the site, Madory noted, would be familiar to many of us, and included a news feed, messaging and basic profile pages, but much of the site appeared to still be under construction.

With an address of starcon.net.kp, the site’s name would appear to suggest a link with the country’s major telecom service, Star.

‘I’m quite sure that no North Koreans ever really used it’

However, with Madory having tweeted the address out from his work account at Dyn, the fledgling site found itself gaining 300 new users, none of whom were actually living in North Korea.

Given such an opportunity, it’s no surprise that one of the first accounts created was a parody of Kim Jong-un, but any attempt at fun didn’t last long as the site was hacked just a day later and is now offline.

Somewhat ironically, Madory said it’s unlikely that any North Korean was even aware of the website.

“There were a lot of people signing up that, based on their comments, appeared to genuinely think they could reach the North Korean people through the website,” Madory said.

“I’m quite sure that no North Koreans ever really used it for a social network website, despite the fact that it was hosted in North Korea.”

North Korean demonstration image via Maxim Tupikov/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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