Do North Korean Social Media Show Signs of Change?: An Examination of a YouTube Channel Using Qualitative Tagging and Social Network Analysis

  • Park, Han Woo (Department of Media & Communication, Interdisciplinary Program of Digital Convergence Business, Cyber Emotions Research Institute at YeungNam University) ;
  • Lim, Yon Soo (School of Advertising & Public Relations, Hongik University)
  • Published : 2020.07.31


This study examines the interplay between the reactions of YouTube users and North Korean propaganda. Interesting enough, the study has noticed changes in the strict media environment under young leader Kim. Messages delivered by the communist regime to the outside world appeared to resemble those of 'normal' countries. Although North Korean YouTube was led mainly by the account operator, visitors from different nations do comment on the channel, which suggests the possibility of building international communities for propaganda purposes. Overall, the study observed a sparsely connected social network among ordinary commenters. However, the operator did not exercise tight control over peer-to-peer communication but merely answered questions and tried to facilitate mass participation. In contrast to the many news clips, the documentary content on North Korea's YouTube channel did not explicitly advocate for North Korea's current political positions.



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