June 03, 2020

Behind The Air Koryo Facebook Page

Running since late 2009, Air Koryo’s Facebook page has received a fair amount of media attention in recent months, with articles surfacing in the Korea Times, Yonhap, the Taipei Times and a number of online social media magazines.  Having been set up not long after North Korean propagandists established official Twitter, Facebook and Youtube accounts, it is easy to see how journalists of the aforementioned articles explained the Air Koryo page as part of an official DPRK social media strategy.  But while all of North Korea’s official “Uriminzokkiri” accounts sprout pro-regime propaganda and rarely enter dialogue with their followers, the Air Koryo page sticks out in comparison - with its extremely engaging voice, witty banter, and occasional anti-regime sentiment.  With that in mind, NK News decided to take a closer look at the Facebook page to determine its authenticity.

When looking back at the material posted online at the Air Koryo Facebook page, there is a range of content and news that at first look suggests the page must be official.  Most convincing is that the Facebook page has been the source of a number of routing stories since its inception, detailing new connections to Kuwait, Kuala Lumpar, and most recently, Berlin.  Interestingly, the administrators of the page have also posted a wide range of photos, many of which might be difficult for the average plane-spotter to obtain.  These include shots of Air Koryo aircraft in final stages of production, photos of planes undergoing maintenance in the DPRK, and depictions of staff working behind the scenes at offices in Pyongyang.   Finally, there is the fact that the administrators of the page often refer to the airline in the possessive sense, most recently through the somewhat ambiguous statement that “This page represents Air Koryo - Korean Airways”.