Vietnam may ban TikTok if violating contents not removed

By Luu Quy   April 7, 2023 | 05:54 pm PT
Vietnam may ban TikTok if violating contents not removed
TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken July 13, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Dado Ruvic
TikTok may be banned if it does not remove violating content as instructed, the information ministry said.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Thanh Lam said Thursday: "Vietnamese law has enough provisions to ensure cybersecurity, and is not limited to banning or removing violating apps."

Le Quang Tu Do, head of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, said authorities have economic, technical and diplomatic tools to act against international platforms.

Economic measures include cutting off money flows, with platforms being cut off from advertisers, banks and e-commerce.

On the technical side, the government can block domains and servers if platforms do not remove violating contents on authorities’ request.

The information ministry can also advise the public not to use platforms with toxic content.

"The point of these measures is for international platforms without offices in Vietnam, like Facebook and YouTube, to abide by the law," Do said.

As for TikTok, one of the few with an office in Vietnam, officials from several ministries are set to perform a comprehensive inspection in May of its content distribution, tax liability, e-commerce transactions, and advertisements.

"Following the check, the information ministry will evaluate the impact TikTok has and its capacity to abide by the law. From that the ministry will find a way to address the root of the problems, not just seek removal of contents," Do added.

The ministry said it has asked platforms like TikTok, Facebook and YouTube to block and remove violating contents numerous times, but in many cases they did not comply and in fact even helped their spread.

Last year the ministry had said there would be black and white lists for advertisements on social media to stop money flows into toxic channels. Dozens of brands that advertised on black-listed channels have been fined.

Outside Vietnam, TikTok has been banned in countries like India and Pakistan due to privacy, security and content concerns.

Others like the U.S. and Australia have made the app off-limits for government employees.

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