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Facebook Reportedly Faces Ban in Vietnam Over Refusal to Censor More Local Political Content

Nguyen Quoc Duc Vuong sentenced in July 2020 to eight years in prison over pro-democracy and anti-government Facebook posts in Vietnam.

Nguyen Quoc Duc Vuong sentenced in July 2020 to eight years in jail over pro-democracy and anti-government Fb posts in Vietnam.
Photograph: Vietnam Information Company/AFP (Getty Pictures)

The federal government of Vietnam is threatening to close down Fb throughout the complete nation over the social media firm’s refusal to censor extra native political content material, in keeping with a brand new report from Reuters. Fb had beforehand censored some political speech on the platform to appease the Vietnamese authorities, however apparently, that wasn’t sufficient.

Again in 2017, the federal government of Vietnam ordered Fb to censor some so-called “anti-state” political posts on the platform for 60 million customers within the nation, one thing the social media firm agreed to do. Fb even arrange a particular “online channel” that enables authorities figures to flag content material they dislike.

Particular person anti-government customers within the nation have additionally been banned, drawing the ire of human rights teams around the world, and one man, Nguyen Quoc Duc Vuong, was just lately sentenced to eight years in jail for “humiliating” the nation’s leaders. Nguyen revealed pro-democracy materials on Fb and different issues to which the Vietnam Communist Celebration objected, in keeping with Human Rights Watch. Vietnamese authorities reportedly need much more strict actions in opposition to activists within the nation, they usually’re prepared to close all of it right down to make that occur.

Fb didn’t explicitly affirm the Reuters report back to Gizmodo on Friday morning, but it surely did trace at issues the corporate is dealing with in Vietnam, a market value roughly $1 billion in income to the social media big, in keeping with reports.

“Tens of millions of individuals in Vietnam use our companies daily to attach with household and mates and hundreds of companies depend on them to attach with clients,” a spokesperson for Fb primarily based in Singapore mentioned through e mail.

Fb doesn’t have any full-time staff in Vietnam.

“We don’t all the time see eye to eye with governments in international locations the place we function, together with Vietnam,” the spokesperson continued. “Over the previous few months, we’ve confronted extra stress from the federal government to limit extra content material, nevertheless, we are going to do all the pieces we are able to to make sure that our companies stay accessible so individuals can proceed to specific themselves.”

The Vietnamese authorities didn’t reply to a request for remark early Friday morning.

The place does that go away Zuck and his military of customers in Vietnam? If the previous is any information, they’ll seemingly concede to the federal government’s needs to take care of a presence within the nation. And possibly Dipayan Ghosh, former public coverage advisor at Fb, mentioned it finest when he talked with the Los Angeles Times final month.

“The thought course of for the corporate just isn’t about sustaining service free of charge speech,” Ghosh mentioned. “It’s about sustaining service for the income.”

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Matt Novak