Vietnam’s government has accused TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube of violating local regulations related to content and taxes, stating that while the platforms are global, they must adhere to local laws while operating within the country.
The nation’s communications ministry has cited poor management and oversight leading to the spread of “fake news” and “deviant” and “anti-government” content on TikTok, which it says threatens and corrupts the country’s culture and morals.
Also Read: Why Was TikTok Fined $16 Million in the UK?
In a recent statement, Le Quang Tu Do, a representative of Vietnam’s Ministry of Communications, raised concerns about the presence of “toxic, offensive, false, and superstitious” content on TikTok. Do noted that such content has recently been allowed on the platform, referring to it as a cause for concern.
“TikTok, Facebook and YouTube are all cross-border social media with international standards. But when operating in Vietnam, the platform needs to abide by local regulations on both content and tax obligations,” said Do.
Vietnamese authorities are also exerting pressure on foreign tech companies, telecoms operators, and data storage providers to comply with the country’s cybersecurity regulations.
If these companies violate the regulations and fail to remedy the situation, officials are pushing for them to store local data within Vietnam.
A country-wide crackdown
The ministry has suggested a decree that would mandate the removal of malicious content from social media within three hours, while false news must be taken down within 24 hours of notification by authorities.
Additionally, the ministry intends to increase the penalty for spreading false information.
“All cross-border platforms when entering Vietnam’s market have to comply with Vietnamese law. If any one doesn’t, it will not be welcomed and will not be allowed to operate in Vietnam,” said Do.
TikTok Vietnam removed 1.7 million videos in the fourth quarter of last year after the Vietnamese government deemed them to be in violation of its policies.
The app has approximately 50 million users aged 18 and above in Vietnam, according to data from research company DataReportal.
Estimated highest number of TikTok users:
🇺🇸 USA: 113.3m
🇮🇩 Indonesia: 109.9m
🇧🇷 Brazil: 82.2m
🇲🇽 Mexico: 57.5m
🇷🇺 Russia: 54.9m
🇻🇳 Vietnam: 49.9m
🇵🇭 Philippines: 43.4m
🇹🇭 Thailand: 40.3m
🇹🇷 Turkey: 29.9m
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia: 26.4m
— World of Statistics (@stats_feed) April 1, 2023
TikTok Vietnam has recently upgraded its guidelines to be more transparent about its rules and how it would enforce them, which is expected to take effect from April 24th.
Not only TikTok
The issue of social media platforms’ compliance with local laws is not limited to just TikTok. According to the Do, all social media platforms must operate in accordance with local laws in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese government has been increasing its scrutiny of social media firms, including the monitoring and removal of content deemed to be in violation of its policies.
“This is an interdisciplinary inspection activity planned by the government and in line with Vietnam law for companies operating in Vietnam, not only TikTok,” said TikTok Vietnam.
Vietnam has a high social media user penetration rate of 71%, indicating the widespread popularity of these platforms in the country.
As of the latest figures, there are 76.95 million active social media users in the country. Out of all the social media platforms, Facebook has the largest audience size with 66.2 million users.