January 08, 2019 13:18
Videos and photos extolling the North Korean regime are spreading on social media, apparently as a way for blocked North Korean websites to reach an audience in South Korea. Some of them appeal for money.
YouTube channel Red Star TV has posted some 1,600 videos and has 12,300 nominal subscribers. It airs programs from state broadcaster [North] Korean Central TV in real time or 10-minute edited versions. It started in February 2017, and this year alone the number of subscribers has doubled.
The channel also takes donations using WebMoney, an online payment system that is believed to have been developed by Russia. There have been suspicions that the channel is used to launder money through P2P payment services that bypass banking networks to avoid international sanctions against the North. Payment can be made in U.S. dollars, Russian roubles and euros as well as Bitcoin.
YouTube channel DPRK Today has 11,000 subscribers and is devoted to glorifying North Korea, and one propaganda video about founder Kim Il-sung accumulated close to 10 million views.
Another YouTube channel DPRK Now with 32,000 subscribers has posted 2,000 videos, including of a mass rally in Pyongyang and other official events. On Instagram, several accounts chiefly post photos of official events in the North.
North Korean websites are blocked in South Korea, but social media are more difficult to control and trace.
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