North Korea seemingly wasted no time this week trumpeting Sony Pictures' decision to cancel the opening of The Interview, a comedy that portrayed an assassination plot against the country's dictator, Kim Jung-un.
"Heroes force Japanese cinema bandits to bow before indomitable fist of Korean people," tweeted the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday. "10,000 years of life to Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un!" the tweet added.
Just one problem: The DPRK News Service account is a parody. The isolated country's mouthpiece has no Twitter account.
Twitter parodies are commonplace: Some are even more popular than the sources they mimic, like FauxPelini the hilarious account that mocks former Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini. The fake has 176,000 followers, while Pelini's has just over half as many. But the one posing as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is remarkably believable because it reads very much like official news bulletins from the actual KCNA.
"What is more ridiculous is that the puppet group dares pull up compatriots, over its 'human rights issue,' forgetful of its position whereby it only has to dance to the tune of its U.S. master, bereft of its own sovereignty," read a KCNA piece published Thursday on its website. The news bulletin was titled "S. Korean Puppet Group Has No Face to Talk about Human Rights."
The phony Twitter account uses the same Cultural Revolution-era rhetoric as the real KCNA, dropping in words like "bandits" and "mobsters" to describe the West just as the real deal tosses out words like "puppet" and "mad-cap." The two also share the same kind of fractured English, and DPRK News Service leans on the official news agency for its frequent use of photographs.
"Culture and Film Minister Roh Nam-Hon warns reactionary film studios of Japan and U.S. to increase respect for DPRK, or face obliteration," the fake account tweeted Thursday.
It helps that North Korea is well known for bellicose statements aimed at the U.S., South Korea and Japan, and fixates on easily-ridiculed topics, like this week's "Kim Jong Un Gives Field Guidance to Pyongyang Children's Foodstuff Factory" and "Cuban Leader Sends Floral Basket to DPRK Embassy."
The flowers were in memory of the death of Kim Jong-un's father, former dictator Kim Jung-il, three years ago this week.
The Twitter parody account took advantage of the Cuba story today. "Cuban ambassador commemorates Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il with gift of tropical fruit baskets to Supreme People's Assembly," a tweet read.
North Korea's prominence in the news of late due to the Sony Pictures hack and follow-up threat, has boosted the parody account's follower count. As of Friday, it stood at approximately 17,300; on Monday, it had 15,700 followers.
Neither the DPRK News Service Twitter account nor the North's news agency has yet commented on today's announcement by the FBI that North Korea was responsible for the attack against Sony.
Give them time.
This story, "Twitter Parody of North Korea's Mouthpiece Not Afraid to Crow Over Sony's Capitulation" was originally published by Computerworld.