The Claim and Our Verdict
The claim: A world map with the area of South Korea being much enlarged claims to be a “world map” published by a South Korean newspaper.
Fact-checking: The image actually originates from a creative advertisement of the Korean pharmaceutical company Celltrion. In 2013, the drug “Remsima” developed by Celltrion became the world’s first monoclonal antibody biosimilar approved by the European Medicines Agency. The company then placed an advertisement in a newspaper with the image of the world map, showing its development and achievements in the international arena.
Our verdict: The “Korean version of the world map” with the area of South Korea being much enlarged actually originates from the Korean pharmaceutical company’s advertisement.
An image of a world map was published Dec. 8, 2022, on Twitter. In the map, South Korea is indicated as the center of the world and its area is much enlarged. The simplified Chinese-language caption translates as, “This is a world map published by South Korea in a newspaper. No wonder the country is called Dae-Han-Min-Guk” (literally Great Korean People’s Nation, where “Dae” means “great”).
As of the time of publication, the tweet had been retweeted 41 times, 17 times with quote, and had received 418 likes. Similar versions of the world map have been circulating on Douyin, with the captions that read “the world map for Korean people,” “the Korean version of the world map” and so on.
A reverse image search found a post published in 2015 by the Korean online discussion forum “The Best Online Daily Repository” (Korean: 일베저장소). A picture shared in the post is almost identical to the world map image. On the right side of the picture, there is a text in Korean that translates as “bio territory in the world” (세계 속의 바이오) and “Celltrion is expanding” (셀트리온이 넓).
Keyword searches with the Korean search engine Naver revealed an advertisement posted on the official website of the Advertising Information Center (광고정보센터) under Korea Federation of Advertising Associations. The advertisement image should be the full version of the viral image. Website information shows that the picture is an advertisement registered in July 2013 by the Korean pharmaceutical company Celltrion (셀트리온). The English translation of the Korean text in the picture is as follows:
Celltrion is expanding the biological territory in the world!
Who, after IT and automobiles, leads us to a biological power? The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves the world’s first antibody biosimilar! This is something incredible even to the multinational pharmaceutical companies. Celltrion is leading the changes in the global pharmaceutical market. Stay tuned, when Celltrion moves, the world’s bio market moves.
According to Celltrion’s official website, it is an international comprehensive bioengineering pharmaceutical company based in Korea. According to the official websites of the Korea Biomedicine Industry Association and the European Medicines Agency, the drug “Remsima” (램시마) developed by Celltrion became the world’s first monoclonal antibody biosimilar approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2013. Celltrion then placed the above-mentioned advertisement in newspaper. The world map image with the area of South Korea being much enlarged echoes the title of the advertisement that the company is “expanding the biological territory in the world.” It is merely for advertising purposes and may deviate from the actual geographical size. Therefore, it is misleading to describe the map in the advertisement as “the world map for Korean people” or “the world map published by South Korea.”
The world map image with the area of South Korea being much enlarged originates from the Korean pharmaceutical company’s advertisement. It does not reflect the actual geographical size.
- Twitter, tweet, Dec. 8, 2022.
- Douyin, search results.
- The Best Online Daily Repository (일베저장소), post, May 4, 2015.
- Advertising Information Center (광고정보센터), “Bio territory in the world, Celltrion is expanding (세계 속의 바이오 영토, 셀트리온이 넓히고),” July 2, 2013.
- Official website of Celltrion.
- Korea Biomedicine Industry Association (한국바이오의약품협회), “Celltrion Remsima, the world’s first monoclonal antibody biosimilar approved by EMA (셀트리온 램시마, 세계최초 항체치료제 바이오시밀러 EMA 승인),” July 1, 2013.
- European Medicines Agency, “European Medicines Agency recommends approval of first two monoclonal-antibody biosimilars,” June 28, 2013.