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South Korean students use Twitter and Google to uncover North Korean sympathizers

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Young people in South Korea are taking to Twitter and Google to search for fellow citizens who might be pro-North Korea.

north south korea border
north south korea border

While many teenagers use Twitter for mundane things like following celebrities or tweeting about their day, in South Korea young people are using it for something much different — finding North Korean sympathizers. The Associated Press reports on a growing trend of teenagers and 20-somethings in the country utilizing services like Google and Twitter in order to find South Koreans posting content that idolizes their neighbors to the north. Offences are then reported to the National Intelligence Service, which rewards these patriotic sleuths with a metal watch.

Pro-North Korean content violates South Korea's National Security Act, originally passed in 1948, and punishment can include up to seven years in prison. One student admitted to spending several hours a day during his vacation searching the web, while others have reported dozens of offences. In 2011 South Korea blocked 187 social network accounts and scrubbed 79,038 offending posts from the web. "Twitter is not a tool for communication but a weapon," explained one teenage student. "Joining Twitter is a must-do for patriotic activities."