Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.

Social media giants removed 'anti-state' posts in Vietnam: state media

Vietnam's communist government tolerates no dissent to one-party rule and social media restrictions are used by the state to curb freedom of expression.

HANOI: Social media giants YouTube, TikTok and Facebook removed nearly 800 "anti-state" or "false" posts in Vietnam over the course of a month at the request of the communist government, state media said Friday.

Around 380 YouTube videos, 364 Facebook posts and 33 TikTok links were taken down or blocked between mid-August and mid-September, state-controlled Thanh Nien newspaper said in a report, quoting the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

Some of the posts contained "false and negative... content against the party, state, organisations and individuals... defaming leaders," the report added.

Vietnam's communist government tolerates no dissent to one-party rule and social media restrictions are used by the state to curb freedom of expression.

All media is under state control and government critics with online followings are regularly targeted.

On Thursday, the MIC announced results from an investigation into TikTok, which has an estimated 50 million users in Vietnam.

Earlier in the year it said it would probe "toxic content" hosted by the hugely popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

"TikTok's content censorship process has not been efficient, bypassing some content that violated Vietnamese laws," the MIC said in an online statement.

The ministry said the app must take further measures to protect children's privacy, ensuring they remove all accounts of users aged under 13 years.

The app says users must be 13 years and older to have an account, but the MIC said children below the age limit were still accessing the platform.

The ministry also asked Vietnamese authorities to closely monitor "cross-border service activities" of TikTok Singapore, which it said has a hand in managing the app in Vietnam.

In 2020 Amnesty International warned in a major report that Facebook and Google were fast becoming "human rights-free zones" in Vietnam, and accused the tech titans of helping censor peaceful dissent and political expression in the country.

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