- A new TikTok account that appears to highlight everyday life in North Korea has gone viral.
- While not much is known about the poster, it’s already racking millions of views from curious and concerned outsiders.
- The channel comes amid a rise of North Korean YouTube channels that are believed to be state-sanctioned.
A new TikTok channel that appears to promote and highlight life in North Korea has already amassed over 60,000 subscribers in a matter of a few days.
Because the country is known for its strict censorship and tightly controlled internet access, users from the rest of the world aren’t sure what to make of @Northkoreanlife.
The channel began posting content on Friday. The first clip was a video of people walking in a busy train station in the country’s capital Pyongyang.
Since then, the channel has uploaded 14 more videos, including one of a large mass of students performing choreography, and a clip of the TikToker’s «daily morning walk,» which has almost 10 million views.
While it’s unclear if these videos were taken in North Korea — or if the account holder is a private citizen — the account is dressed like promotional tourism.
A 15-second video of the creator walking in a city at night has the description «Pyongyang has the best nightlife.» In another description of a clip of people watching a movie playing on a billboard, the creator wrote: «North Korea is in the future!»
Insider has reached out to the account holder.
In one video, the creator seemed to try to dispel the myth that North Korea has no cars by showing a handful of vehicles driving around. In another, the creator panned across a gorgeous landscape of mountains and wrote, «The North Korea western media doesn’t show you.»
By Monday, the account had already amassed over 61,000 followers, and it’s quickly growing by the hour.
The comment sections are full of shock, and people are unsure what to make of the account — and if someone can freely film in the country. Besides top government authorities, North Korean citizens do not have access to the global internet. They can only use a government-sanctioned intranet called Kwangmyong, which has a number of curated sites. Computers are also mostly forbidden.
Some viewers are speculating that the TikTok account is actually a government-run account, especially as more and more content purporting to show «everyday» North Korean life are cropping up across social media over the last year.
Last week, experts warned about propaganda efforts in several North Korean YouTube channels that were created in 2022. YouTuber Song A, who has said in videos that she’s completed fifth grade, has accumulated around 21,000 YouTube subscribers in nine months showing what her average life looks like in North Korea’s capital.
Researchers told CNN that creators like Song A could be part of a new propaganda effort to reshape the outside perception of the country to be more relatable. A YouTuber who calls herself «Olivia Natasha,» for instance, was found to be run by Sogwang Media Corporation, a North Korean media company with reported ties to the government.