Facebook avoids handling toxic information in Vietnam: official

By Khuong Nha   June 30, 2022 | 11:50 pm PT
Facebook avoids handling toxic information in Vietnam: official
The Facebook logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken December 2, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Johanna Geron
Global social media platforms, especially Facebook, have persistently ignored prevention of toxic information being spread among Vietnamese users, a top information official said.

Luu Dinh Phuc, head of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information under the Ministry of Communications and Information, said international social networks have committed to the ministry in preventing the spread of toxic information and removing it.

However, "several foreign companies providing services in Vietnam still avoid preventing toxic information in Vietnam, especially Facebook," he told a seminar reviewing activities in the information field in the first six months held Thursday in Ho Chi Minh City.

"The act of spreading fake and toxic news mostly occurs on social media platforms, especially international ones.

"Part of the reasons is because users are still treating those platforms as a virtual world that has no impacts on real life and therefore, they have made statements and spread unverified information without thinking about the consequences," Phuc said.

He said fake news on platforms that connect billions of people around the world today like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok will immediately have thousands of shares and comments with millions of views.

If the information spread around is not identified by the competent authority as fake news, many people still think it may be real and continue to spread it, exponentially causing confusion in the community, he added.

However, due to "differences in opinion and legal environment, the handling of fake and toxic information on those social networks has remained slow and incomplete."

Existing technology solutions do not allow the ministry to separate violating content from the platforms for handling, banning the entire site instead.

Meanwhile, people have become more and more reliant on foreign social media platforms but Vietnam has yet to develop competitive services to keep up with the demand, Phuc said.

The Information Ministry said it will continue to strengthen measures to make Facebook, Google and TikTok follow Vietnamese rules and have solutions to prevent the spread of fake news on those platforms.

The Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information has signed agreements with information-communications departments in Hanoi, HCMC, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Vietnam's five centrally-managed cities, and Dong Nai Province, an industrial hub bordering HCMC, on cooperating to handle fake news on social media.

These are the six localities with the most reports on fake and toxic news.

According to Germany-based data portal Statista, Facebook's user base in Vietnam amounted to approximately 65.56 million users last year.

It predicted that the number of social media users in Vietnam would rise from 72.29 million in 2022 to 81.63 million in 2027.

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