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ANTI-US PROPAGANDA IN NORTH KOREA AND SUSPENSION OF TWITTER BLUE

November 10-16, 2022 | Issue 7 - Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC)

Christie Hui, Brianna Corrie, CTSC

Chloe Bissett, Editor; Deepankar Patil, Senior Editor


Anti-US Propaganda in North Korea[1]


Date: November 11, 2022

Location: North Korea

Parties involved: North Korean government; US government; North Korean citizens; US military

The event: After a four-year hiatus, North Korea has resumed creating and selling anti-US propaganda posters that depict graphic violence toward the US. The art represents missile strikes against the US mainland and American military forces, and a revival of state messaging to “wipe the US off the face of the earth.” The hiatus was a gesture of goodwill intended to improve diplomatic relations between North Korea and the US.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The revival of anti-US propaganda almost certainly reflects deteriorating US-North Korea relations, which have almost certainly worsened with increased missile testing in the Korean Peninsula. As a show of power, the US will likely respond to the propaganda posters by reinforcing its military and diplomatic presence in South Korea. Increased Western military presence in the region will likely increase regional tensions but will likely deter the North Korean government from violent military action.

  • Internet censorship and nationalism in North Korea will almost certainly propel polarization in the state as individuals are unable to see opposing viewpoints, which will almost certainly create an echo chamber. North Korean citizens will likely create their own anti-US propaganda as they are encouraged to display high levels of nationalism and support for their leader. North Korean leaders and elites with global internet access will likely share the anti-US propaganda online. This will likely prompt American citizens to create anti-North Korean propaganda, which North Korean leaders and elites will likely selectively share with its citizens to create the perception of being victimized.


Date: November 11, 2022

Location: Global

Parties involved: Twitter; Twitter CEO Elon Musk; Twitter users; public figures; prominent organizations; white nationalist Jason Kessler; neo-Nazi Richard Spencer; public safety organizations; law enforcement agencies; weather services

The event: Musk suspended Twitter Blue, a paid, affordable subscription service that would add a blue checkmark to users’ profiles, after launching it on November 9. Twitter previously reserved the checkmark for verified accounts of public figures and widely recognized organizations to avoid impersonation. The new service prompted the creation of numerous fake accounts impersonating prominent individuals and organizations.[3] Accounts that have previously violated Twitter’s policies or spread conspiracy theories and hate speech were also able to obtain a checkmark by subscribing to Twitter Blue, such as Kessler and Spencer.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The paid subscription service almost certainly damages the reputation of Twitter’s blue checkmark. The checkmark has been an indication of official accounts and almost certainly loses its meaning as fake accounts can bypass previous verification requirements and obtain the verification mark. This ability to bypass verification requirements will very likely attract threat actors who want to exploit users or damage others’ reputations. This likely includes threat actors posing as politicians or companies attempting to discredit their competition.

  • If Twitter continues to omit a verification process, the platform will very likely allow disinformation and misinformation as users likely perceive accounts with a checkmark as more reliable. Threat actors and foreign adversaries seeking to spread disinformation will very likely purchase the subscription to portray their content as truthful. Users who lack media literacy or education on fact-checking are unlikely capable of discerning facts from misinformation.

  • Impersonation of public safety organizations, such as law enforcement agencies and weather services, will almost certainly endanger the public during emergencies as Twitter is often used as a communication channel for alerts. Fake accounts will very likely cause the public to panic. The false alarms and widespread public panic will very likely distract first responders from genuine emergencies. During time-critical situations, such as natural disasters or active shooter incidents, inaccurate updates will very likely increase confusion and exacerbate the number of injuries and deaths.

 

[1]Propaganda Poster. North Korea.” by (stephan) licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

[2] ‘There’s nowhere to hide’: North Korea resumes anti-US propaganda depicting graphic violence, MSN, November 2022, https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/theres-nowhere-to-hide-north-korea-resumes-anti-us-propaganda-depicting-graphic-violence/ar-AA13ZHwN

[3] Elon Musk says Twitter Blue paid-for verification to return despite days of impersonation chaos, Euronews, November 2022, https://www.euronews.com/next/2022/11/14/elon-musk-says-twitter-blue-paid-for-verification-to-return-despite-days-of-impersonation-

[4] Blue-Checked Neo-Nazis, Other Extremists Still On Twitter, Yahoo! News, November 2022, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/blue-checked-neo-nazis-other-041311079.html

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