Vietnam’s Information Minister Truong Minh Tuan and Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of policy management.
The agreement was made at a meeting on Wednesday between Vietnam’s Information Minister Truong Minh Tuan and Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of policy management. Bickert said the network is willing to cooperate with the Vietnamese government so its platform complies with Vietnamese laws and to help build a safe and healthy internet environment in Vietnam, the government report said.
The network said it will start by removing fake pages that purport to belong to state leaders. It also said it will establish a special channel to receive management requests from the Vietnamese government. Facebook is the most popular social network in Vietnam with around 35 million users, or 70 percent of the country’s online community.
In recent years, the government has taken various steps to embrace the platform. Vietnam’s health minister launched her official Facebook page more than two years ago to provide health information and receive questions from the public. That was months before Vietnam’s central government opened its own Facebook page in October 2015.
The then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged government officials to embrace social networks, saying “we won’t be able to ban them”. But in recent months, the government has been working hard to control what it calls “toxic” information.
In January, the information ministry issued a circular asking Facebook and similar sites with a Vietnamese base of over one million users to “collaborate” with authorities to block “toxic information,” ranging from ads for banned products to anti-state content and state secrets.
It has asked Google to block and remove 2,200 videos on YouTube that contained “slanderous” and “defamatory” content against Vietnamese leaders. Google had removed nearly 1,300 such videos as of April 12.