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Vietnam
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Google blocked 7,000 videos, Facebook removed anti-state content at Vietnam's request

Google blocked 7,000 videos, Facebook removed anti-state content at Vietnam's request

Around half of the 90 million people in Vietnam are online and Facebook is their most popular social network. Photo by Reuters/Regis Duvignau

Responding to a government request on ‘malicious, illegal content,’ Google and Facebook have blocked videos and removed accounts.

A government report says that to date, Google has blocked more than 7,000 videos and removed 19 YouTube channels with "malicious" content. It has also removed 58 Vietnamese games that violated national laws from the Google Play application.

Facebook was asked to scrap 200 websites with anti-governmental content, 208 fake accounts, and 2,444 websites that promoted sales of "illegal products and services." 215 gambling sites were also taken down.

Apple also removed from its App Store nine game applications said to be violating Vietnamese law.

These figures are being reviewed at the summer session of the legislative National Assembly between May 20 and June 14.

The report also said that a working group has been established between Facebook and the Ministry of Information and Communications, with the participation of the State Bank of Vietnam, the General Department of Taxation and the Ministry of Public Security to identify and deal with violations of the law in social media content.

Vietnam has been publicly requesting Facebook and Google to help control negative content on their sites since 2017.

In a meeting held last September with Facebook's vice president of public policy for the Asia-Pacific, Simon Milnerm, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc had said that he wanted the company to work closely especially with the information ministry to remove "toxic" information that could damage national security, social order, safety and lives of people.

The Cybersecurity Law which came into effect at the beginning of this year bans Internet users from organizing, encouraging or training other people for anti-government purposes. It also requires foreign businesses like Facebook and Google to open representative offices in Vietnam and store their Vietnamese users' data in Vietnamese territory.

Around half of the 90 million people in Vietnam are online. Facebook and Google's YouTube and among the most popular social networks in the country, which has licensed 436 social networking sites and 1,500 websites.

The country last year had the seventh highest number of Facebook users in the world, over 58 million, up 16 percent from 2017, according to marketing agency We Are Social.

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