Vietnam’s government threatens to shut down Facebook

The government of Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook. And it might happen if the company fails to censor local political content.

According to Reuters, Vietnam is showing a strict approach against Facebook. A senior official from the social networking firm informed on this case.

The social media giant did comply with Vietnam’s request to censor anti-state posts early in April. It was regarding the local users. However, the government emphasized this again, in August, to increase restrictions on critical posts as well.

“We agreed in April. Facebook has upheld our end of the agreement, and we expected the government of Vietnam to do the same,” said an anonymous ‘official.’ He spoke on behalf of the authorities.

“They have come back to us and sought to get us to increase the volume of content that we’re restricting in Vietnam. We’ve told them no. That request came with some threats about what might happen if we didn’t.”

Facebook and recent history of controversies

The current scenario will imply that Vietnam will completely shut down Facebook in case of non-acceptance of this request. It’s crucial to note that the country provides a huge revenue of around $1 billion to the social media company. So it has to make up an important decision now.

Lately, the company has faced similar situations of heavy pressure from various governments across the globe. And it’s been regarding the content policies only. There have been threats of new regulations and fines from the state authorities. However, the social networking firm managed to avoid them.

It did get completely banned in some countries, like China, where it was never allowed to operate.

Speaking of freedom of press and expression, Vietnam also doesn’t rank quite well. Another aspect of this case is that it maintains tight control on media, as per Reuters.

The foreign ministry of the country, about Facebook, said that the company must stop “spreading information that violates traditional Vietnamese customs and infringes upon state interests.”

Growing threats for the social networking giant

Apart from this situation, Mark Zuckerberg‘s platform is constantly getting new challenges. And this year has been quite negative for the social media giant also. Many state representatives and even public portals raised their objection towards its policies. So the pressure has been from both sides.

Whether it’s about the lack of regulation over hate speech or banning personal abuse in various posts, Facebook is continuously trying to cope with new problems. It will be interesting to see how it deals with the Vietnam situation because the revenue it gets from there will be key to what decision it makes up.

 

Image courtesy of Ink Drop/Shutterstock

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