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In Vietnam, Facebook is a marketplace for cheap fakes and endangered wildlife parts

By Ngoc Tuyen   September 16, 2017 | 12:14 am PT
Copycats, ivory and tiger paws are just some of the things you can buy on the country’s most popular social network.

Xuan is pretty honest with her customers, but as a salesperson, she has to sugarcoat it a bit.

“These are super fakes,” she said in a Facebook post advertising bags carrying various luxury brands from Hermes to Louis Vuitton and Prada.

“They are class 1 copycats and thus the material and the sewing are of very high quality,” the post said.


Fake Dior bags are advertised on a Facebook page in Vietnam.

Xuan has been trading these bags for six years and is a supplier for many shops across Vietnam.

She said Facebook has become an important tool for her to connect with partners and customers, thereby increasing her earnings.

A recent survey by Vietnam E-Commerce Association found social networks are the most used advertisement channel and one of the most effective. In Vietnam, Facebook is the most popular social network with around 64 million users, accounting for 3 percent of global Facebookers.

But these places are also where trade authorities have little control.

Tax evasion aside, there are also big problems with legitimacy.

Facebook in Vietnam is where a Vertu-branded phone is available for just a couple hundred dollars, and also where you can find rampant wildlife trade activities.

Ivory, pangolin scales and tiger skin are advertised as if the country has no protection for the endandgered animals.


Bear and tiger's claws are advertised on Facebook in Vietnam.

A Facebook user named Tuan advertises tiger parts on different pages, saying that “I only provide fine and unique products, and I can accommodate large demands as well.”

Although the act of offering to sell fake and banned products is subject to criminal punishment, there have been few reports of these retailers being arrested.

In April, Facebook pledged to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to block “bad” and “toxic” content on the site, to help build a safe and healthy internet environment in Vietnam.

It's not clear what specific intervention the partnership would bring to protect users in Vietnam, against illegal trade for example.

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