Vietnam Says Facebook Illegally Allowing ‘Slanderous’ and ‘Anti-Government’ Content

While Vietnam continues to open up to the world with economic reforms and a government stance slowly opening more and more to social change, the country’s Communist Party remains firmly anchored to a hardline when it comes to social dissent amongst its citizenry.

Only days after Vietnam launched its latest campaign cracking down on social media with a new cybersecurity law, the communist government said that Facebook is in violation of the new reforms by not removing anti-government comments.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Information and Communication quoted by the official Vietnam News Agency, “Facebook had reportedly not responded to a request to remove fanpages provoking activities against the state.”

 
 

According to the statement:

Facebook had also allowed content from personal accounts to post slanderous content, anti-government sentiment and libel and defamation of individuals, organisations and State agencies. This content had been found to seriously violate Vietnam’s Law on Cyber Security, Government’s Decree 72/2013, on the management, provision and use of internet services and online information and the MIC’s Circular 38 detailing the provision of public information across the border.

Management agencies had sent emails repeatedly asking Facebook to remove distorted and misleading content. However, the social networking giant had delayed removing the content, saying it did not violate its community standards.

 
 

Responding to the charges by the Vietnamese government, Facebook issued a statement saying, “We have a clear process for governments to report illegal content to us, and we review all these requests against our terms of service and local law.”

According to TechCrunch, Facebook is in contact with the Vietnamese government and it intends to review content flagged as illegal before making a decision.

Tax Issues

The government also said that both Facebook and Google are neglecting tax obligations in Vietnam.

“Vietnam News Agency cited a market report saying that in 2018, spending on online advertising in Vietnam was estimated at US$550 million, of which advertising spent on Facebook and Google were $235 million and $152.1 million respectively. However, the two have reportedly ignored their tax obligations in Việt Nam.”

Facebook has not issued a response to the tax liability claim.

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