N. Korea bans Facebook and Twitter for foreigners

October 31, 2014
north

This is the first time that Pyongyang has blocked all foreigners from accessing social media sites.

By Lee Min-hyung

North Korea has banned all foreigners there from using social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, a Russian news agency reported Thursday.

Diplomats and workers from humanitarian organizations have also been denied access to other social media sites, according to TASS.

Pyongyang has not made any official statement regarding the latest crackdown on foreigners, leaving them confused over the sudden repression.

The North has recently been stepping up pressure on foreigners’ Internet access.

Earlier last month, the North slapped a Wi-Fi ban on all embassies and NGOs operating in the country. The state authorities said that Internet access by foreigners was a threat to national security, adding it would impose heavy fines on violators.

This is the first time that Pyongyang has blocked all foreigners from accessing social media sites. Those from foreign embassies and international organizations had been an exception from the ban if they had been approved by the North Korean government.

The only source for information, following the latest restriction on information, is the North’s highly-controlled Intranet called Kwangmyeong, or “Bright.”

It remains to be seen whether foreigners will face a permanent ban on the use of social networks by the isolated country.

North Koreans have long been unable to have Internet access due to the state’s crackdown on information sharing among its residents.

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