Facebook Censors ‘Anti-State’ Content in Vietnam to Please Government

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Facebook has agreed to censor “anti-state” posts in Vietnam after its local servers were taken offline earlier this year slowing traffic in the country to a crawl.

Reuters reports that social media giant Facebook has agreed to censor posts critical of the Vietnamese government after its servers in the country were taken offline earlier this year, slowing traffic to a crawl. Two Facebook sources told Reuters that the servers were taken offline for around seven weeks by state-owned telecommunications companies making Facebook unusable at times in the country.

One Facebook source told Reuters: “We believe the action was taken to place significant pressure on us to increase our compliance with legal takedown orders when it comes to content that our users in Vietnam see.”

Facebook confirmed in an email to Reuters that it has complied with the Vietnamese government’s request to “restrict access to content which it has deemed to be illegal.” Vietnam’s foreign ministry did not respond to Reuter’s request for information, state telecoms firms Viettel and Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) also ignored requests for comment.

Amnesty International has called on Facebook to immediately reverse its decision, stating: “Facebook’s compliance with these demands sets a dangerous precedent. Governments around the world will see this as an open invitation to enlist Facebook in the service of state censorship.”

Despite widespread economic reform and increasing openness to social change, Vietnam’s Communist Party still has a tight hold on media and does not tolerate dissent. The country ranks 175th of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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