Vietnamese Government Whines Facebook Isn't Helping It Censor Critics Quickly Enough

from the get-bent-fellow-UN-member dept

The censorship arm of the Vietnamese government is at it again, complaining that it's not getting enough censorship accomplished. The target of its complaints is, oddly enough, a former enabler of its dissent-stifling efforts, Facebook.

To help it snuff out criticism and dissent, the government granted itself expansive new powers with a cybersecurity law that went into effect at the beginning of this year. When a law is clearly written to target government critics, it appears that it can be applied a lot more broadly, especially when the definition of "cybersecurity" includes all of this:

According to the ABEI [Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information], Facebook had violated Vietnamese laws in three major areas of managing information content, online advertising and tax liability.

Facebook had not reportedly responded to a request to remove fanpages provoking activities against the State at the request of authorities.

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 Viet Nam’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.

Just like that, criticism of the government becomes an cybersecurity threat, as does libel, defamation, and, um, providing public information across borders. Vietnam censors are angry Facebook hasn't responded to multiple emails demanding the removal of "distorted or misleading" content. However, Facebook has responded, telling the Vietnamese government these posts don't violate "community standards."

Apparently, the Vietnamese government is going to tax Facebook into submission.

According to ANTS market research company, in 2018, spending on online advertising in Viet Nam 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 Viet Nam.

The fact that foreign businesses such as Facebook do not pay taxes had caused the state to lose money and float the online advertising market, said the ABEI.

If this doesn't work (and it won't), the government is going to do other vague things ("necessary economic and technical measures") to hurt Facebook and "ensure a clean and healthy network environment." One "necessary economic measure" is somehow blocking Facebook from collecting money for "hatred advertising," whatever the hell that is.

What the government really wants is direct control. The Financial Times reports the government is demanding Facebook physically set up shop in Vietnam as the new law requires. Having a local office makes it that much easier for men with guns to follow up on ignored content removal requests. For exactly this reason, Facebook should never create a Vietnam office, unless it's going to do it patent troll-style and rent out an empty office and tell the Vietnamese government all content removal requests must be mailed to the nearest strip mall with a Mailboxes, Etc.

The Vietnamese government doesn't have much leverage as it loves having access to Facebook to deliver its version of events, as well as give its 10,000 full-time internet monitors something to look at. So, it's not going to kick Facebook out. It's just going to keep demanding fees it can't collect while claiming anything anti-government is a threat to the nation's safety.

Filed Under: censorship, cybersecurity, free speech, vietnam
Companies: facebook


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Gary (profile), 11 Jan 2019 @ 11:00am

    Taking notes

    And Trump is wondering how he can apply the same sort of regulations to the WaPo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      HoT O Rod, 11 Jan 2019 @ 1:08pm

      Re: Taking notes

      Now, that, "Gary" is just plain lie.

      You're more obviously Timothy Geigner, aka "Dark Helmet", every day, even though have cut down to one-liners.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2019 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: I am Tim Spartacus

        How many Tim’s are there bro? You accused me of being one yesterday. Does this not strike you as the mindset of a paranoid lunatic? Because it sure as shit does remind me of the actions of a fucking nut job.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2019 @ 4:50pm

        Re: Re: Taking Trolls

        Now, that, "Gary" is just plain lie.

        False! But thanks for calling me a liar. Kettle = Black.

        My statement would either be considered obvious hyperbole, or a protected opinion. Not a lie. (For the record, I sincerely believe that Trump would love to do this - so I am being honest, eh?)

        Stop lying. Maybe - stop talking if that is what it takes?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    HoT O Rod, 11 Jan 2019 @ 1:06pm

    Techdirt is okay with Facebook / all "deplatforming" Alex Jones.

    What's fundamentally different about this?

    And, "but government" isn't answer. The ones censored are censored.

    Since ALL access to the internet is through corporations (and we've already seen those act all at once in concert with Alex Jones), there's no obvious limit to what masnicks claim for corporate power to "deplatform". What if you're put on a blacklist by ALL corporations? Are you suddenly going to talk up anti-trust? HOW will you get your message out when the very means to do so are what you must use and are against you? HMM?

    Worry about the future for yourselves, rather than making a fuss over a country already lost to commies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2019 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Techdirt is okay with Facebook / all "deplatforming&quo

      If you're going to ask a question and then immediately reject the correct answer, perhaps you shouldn't be asking questions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2019 @ 1:23pm

      Re: Derp

      You still don't get it. It's already been explained to death so I won't bother doing so again. But you really need to get a grip.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jan 2019 @ 1:35pm

      What's fundamentally different about this?

      No one in the U.S. government has yet to petition the hosting provider/domain registrar handling InfoWars for a shutdown of that website. No one in the U.S. government attempted to use their power for the purpose of having Jones booted from Facebook.

      What if you're put on a blacklist by ALL corporations? Are you suddenly going to talk up anti-trust?

      See, this is an actual decent talking point you have here. Companies such as CloudFlare and domain registrars wield an immense amount of power, and their ability to boot websites such as InfoWars and social interaction networks such as Gab from the Internet is a legitimate concern from a “free speech” standpoint.

      The problem with your raising it is that you cannot do so without insulting everyone and making them hostile toward you by default. That makes a reasoned discussion of the subject—or a reasoned discussion with you, at any rate—as close to impossibile as such a thing can get. If you want a discussion, I will give you one. But you will not receive one if you continue to act like a petulant teenage brat/Donald Trump.

      HOW will you get your message out when the very means to do so are what you must use and are against you? HMM?

      You could use literally every other means of communication outside of a public-facing website or a social interaction network. Email, physical letters, phone calls—CloudFlare cannot legally stop you from using any of those things.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2019 @ 2:21pm

        Re:

        "No one in the U.S. government has yet to petition the hosting provider/domain registrar handling InfoWars for a shutdown of that website. No one in the U.S. government attempted to use their power for the purpose of having Jones booted from Facebook."

        Actually, Facebook uses several organizations that are funded by government, military, and politically affiliated organizations (SPLC, Atlantic council, OSF, etc) to determine what is "Fake News" and who should be deplatformed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jan 2019 @ 2:30pm

          What evidence can you cite that says the suggestions of those groups, and not Jones’s asinine behaviour, were the primary (or only) factor behind Jones getting the boot?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 12 Jan 2019 @ 4:21pm

        Re:

        For someone so obsessed with zombies, he sure does love telling zombie lies. (they just won't stay down no matter how many times they're debunked.

        Like the "companies colluded against Alex Jones" one that was DOA.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2019 @ 6:42pm

      Re:

      Your manchild of a President is still not getting his wall funded.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2019 @ 12:14pm

    "Defamation of individuals...."

    The US has a different view of this than even England or Australia.

    Some countries even consider reputation a human right. The right to be forgotten laws don't even require something be false to have it removed.

    Something has to give.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    abner shem, 17 Jan 2019 @ 3:02am

    www.office.com/setup

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss and share this with us, I for one feel strongly about it and really enjoyed learning more about this topic. I can see that you possess a degree of expertise on this subject.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.