Vietnam on Thursday called on all companies doing business in the country to stop advertising on YouTube, Facebook and other social media until they find a way to halt the publication of "toxic" anti-government information.
"Today we call on all Vietnamese firms that are advertising not to abet them to take advertising money from firms to use against the Vietnamese government," Information and Communications Minister Truong Minh Tuan told a meeting in Hanoi.
"We also call on all internet users to raise their voice to Google and Facebook to prevent toxic, fake content violating Vietnamese law in the online environment."
Several major Vietnamese companies including diary giant Vinamilk and Vietnam Airlines early this month said that they had stopped running ads on YouTube, following the government’s announcement that the platform was violating Vietnamese laws.
The information ministry found 17 YouTube videos contained slanderous content and distorted historical facts about Vietnam that could stir public unrest. These videos came with advertisements for Vietnamese companies that had signed contracts with the platform through third parties to promote their brands.
The companies said they did not control where there ads would appear.
The culture ministry has said it will conduct further investigations and impose a penalty on YouTube for violating Vietnamese advertising regulations.
While Vietnam makes up a very small part of the business operations of companies like Google and Facebook, it is one of Asia's fastest growing economies and a hot investment target for global consumer brands.
Within Vietnam itself, YouTube and Facebook account for two-thirds of digital media market share, according to Nguyen Khoa Hong Thanh, Operations Director at digital marketing agency Isobar Vietnam.