March 3 (UPI) -- U.S. social media platform Twitter may have been mentioned in North Korean state media, possibly for the first time, in an article that described in detail the role of the network in delivering "opinions and news."
The Russian Embassy in North Korea on Wednesday uploaded to Facebook an article published in Pyongyang Sinmun that mentioned Twitter and its uses, South Korean news service Seoul Pyongyang News reported.
The article described Twitter as a "kind of social network" that "allows subscribers to present their opinions, deliver news and actively access information." Pyongyang Sinmun also said the network can be "accessed through a computer network or by mobile phone."
North Korean officials have kept a low profile on the platform, but two accounts, under the names of Kim Myong Il and Han Song Il, were created in October. Most North Koreans do not have access to the Internet of the outside world.
The Russian Embassy in Pyongyang said Wednesday on Facebook that "centers for the exchange of scientific and technical information" where "users download programs, clean their smartphones and laptops from viruses, buy all kinds of gadgets" are available in the capital.
The Russian statement also said mobile apps in North Korea specialize in food delivery or help with errands like dry cleaning. The embassy also said the North Korean article could mean it is "quite possible" an app like Twitter could "appear soon for local users."
Mobile phone use is "widespread" in North Korea, according to South Korean press reports.
News network MBN reported Wednesday about 6 million smartphones are in use. Some North Korean users, including vendors at informal marketplaces, can own two or three phones. Phones acquired from China also allow access to the Chinese internet, the report said.
Cho Han-beom, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told MBN that certain rules online forbid the use of the names of past and present North Korean leaders.
Text messages that mention the names Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il or Kim Il Sung are censored or replaced with other characters. Kim's name is being "made holy" online, Cho said.