North Koreans turn to WeChat for videos and cross-border communication
In North Korea’s border areas, the WeChat app is gaining popularity through word-of-mouth as a way to avoid surveillance from the North Korean authorities.
“In the border region, North Korean residents are increasingly turning to WeChat instead of phone calls to contact China and South Korea. People are using Chinese SIM cards in their cell phones and installing WeChat because the crackdown on phone communication is becoming too repressive,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK.
“Older people don’t really know about WeChat because they normally use older cell phones. Young people are quick learners and they’re the main ones using it.”
Young North Koreans are using WeChat’s voice chat and messaging service to avoid the government eavesdropping on their conversations and monitoring their messages. WeChat is known to have weaker security as it’s subject to real-time monitoring by the Chinese authorities, but North Koreans view it as relatively secure from the prying eyes of the North Korean authorities.
North Koreans are also using the app to watch foreign media. “People who are good with cell phones think that WeChat is more secure and easier to use compared to USBs and SD cards. They’re mostly watching short funny videos rather than longer movies,” said the source. ......