Google promises to work with Vietnam to remove 'bad' content: report

By VnExpress   May 26, 2017 | 12:37 am PT
Google promises to work with Vietnam to remove 'bad' content: report
People visit Google's booth at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing China April 28, 2017. Photo by Reuters
The tech giant has been asked to open a representative office and coordinate with Vietnamese authorities.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked that Google open a representative office in Vietnam to better manage its increasingly popular services in Vietnam, including preventing bad content on YouTube, according to a report on the government's website.

Phuc said during a meeting with Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, in Hanoi on Friday that many of Google’s services are widely used by Vietnamese businesses and people.

He reportedly asked for more cooperation from Google to prevent and remove bad information on its video site YouTube.

According to the report, Schmidt has pledged to work with Vietnam government to filter its content, and said he will consider opening the Vietnam office.

Vietnam has the second largest number of YouTube users in the world, he was quoted as saying.

Major market

Nearly 49 million people in Vietnam, or more than half of the country’s population, are online.

A report from Think With Google, the research arm of the tech giant, last month said many Vietnamese spend their summer on searching on Google and watching YouTube.

Trailers on the site got more than 500 million views in summer 2016, up a staggering 136 percent from previous year.

Data from the company shows that last summer, YouTube views in Vietnam doubled compared to spring, with more than 60 percent from mobile.

Every day during that summer, 100 million mobile searches were made on Google – that’s even more than the population.

‘Toxic’ content

In March, Google Europe had to apologize for allowing ads to appear alongside offensive videos on YouTube, after big companies either pulled ads or threatened to do so.

A month later, Vietnam’s government called on all companies doing business in the country to stop advertising on YouTube, Facebook and other social media until they could find a way to end the publication of “toxic” anti-government information.

The information ministry in April confirmed that it had asked Google to block and remove 2,200 videos on YouTube that had “defamatory” content against Vietnamese leaders.

Facebook, the most popular social network in Vietnam, last month also pledged to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to block "bad" and "toxic" content.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited Vietnam in December 2015, joining a talk with Vietnamese businesspeople and startup community.

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