August 10, 2022

Piranhas, purges and porn: The worst rumors of Kim Jong Un’s decade in power

Hearsay and misinformation on North Korea routinely circulates as news, warping perception of the country

Kim Jong Un in a coma. A general fed to flesh-eating fish. The imminent collapse of the regime. Media organizations often exoticize and sensationalize North Korea, and in the absence of solid information, rumors about the isolated state multiply.

Spread through social media and amplified by pundits, politicians and news outlets, these tall tales can quickly spiral out of control, warping popular understanding of the country and even influencing foreign policy toward Pyongyang.