Vietnamese branches of Unilever, Yamaha and Ford have all agreed to obey the government’s plea for companies to stop advertising on YouTube due to alleged anti-government information
Vietnamese companies have been urged by the government to halt advertising on Facebook, YouTube and other online platforms until they can halt the publication of “toxic” anti-government information.
This comes a month after the communist government urged advertisers to persuade Google and other companies to scrub their sites of content from outside ‘dissidents’.
That strategy is not working, according to information and communication minister Truong Minh Tuan. Despite there being 8,000 anti-government videos on YouTube, according to the ministry, Google (which owns YouTube) has only managed to block 42 videos.
At a meeting with Tuan, companies including the Vietnamese branches of Unilever, Yamaha and Ford all agreed to obey the government’s plea to stop advertising on YouTube.
“Today we call on all Vietnamese firms that are advertising not to abet them to take advertising money from firms to use against the Vietnamese government,” Tuan told companies at the Hanoi meeting. “We also call on all internet users to raise their voice to Google and Facebook to prevent toxic, fake content violating Vietnamese law in the online environment.”
In response to the Vietnamese government’s request, YouTube has reiterated its global policy of reviewing government requests to block content they deem to be illegal and restricting it when necessary. Facebook has yet to comment on the issue.
Such crackdowns on so-called dissidents are nothing new in Vietnam. The country’s Decree 72 on social media – which bans anti-government communications, or information it deems damaging to national security and unity – has been lambasted by the international community. The government also frequently jails those it finds to be spreading anti-government information.