North Korea now has its own Facebook ‘clone’

WITH over 1.65 billion monthly active users in the first quarter of this year, Facebook is known as the most popular social network to connect the globe, but now it has a identical knockoff hosted in one of the world’s most isolated countries – North Korea.

Dyn, an internet analytics company that observes internet activities in conflict-ridden countries, found the Facebook clone recently after tracing the DNS (Domain Name System) to the hermit kingdom.

Technology online magazine Motherboard reported that anyone in any country could sign up to the no-frills site, which did not appear to carry a name. The site also appeared to be incomplete, with only “Welcome to Our Social Network” as the current title.

The Facebook clone hosted in North Korea has features identical to the original site. Image via Motherboard.

Dyn researcher Doug Madory said the site was discovered with the company’s analytics tools.

“It seems like it’s brand new,” Madory was quoted as saying. “Very few websites resolve to the North Korean address space, and this one does.”

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Madory also told Motherboard that the site’s DNS, which is considered as the “address book of the internet”, resolves to that of North Korea’s.

The researcher said he did not know who created the English-language website and that it was “weird” for some one in North Korea to to develop it. The clone site has features identical to Facebook, such as a news feed, messaging service, and of course, the iconic ‘likes’.

Madory said: “It’s a generic Facebook clone you can buy and setup — it looks like it’s meant to be used inside companies.”

Motherboard staff writer Jason Koebler ‘tested’ the site, finding it to be ‘fuctional’ after uploading a profile picture and adding Madory and trading messages with the researcher. Apparently, only a handful of test accounts exist on the site.

Last month, North Korea banned Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Madory estimates that there were only several hundreds of internet users in North Korea comprising mostly government officials.