Vietnamese activist Anh Chi searches internet at Tu Do (Freedom) cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam. File photo/Reuters
Vietnam has asked companies not to advertise on videos hosted by Google’s YouTube that contain “anti-state propaganda,” state media said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country ramps up pressure on global tech giants.
Despite economic reforms and increasing openness to social change, the ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent.
“Google was found to loosely manage its content, allowing users to buy ads directly from YouTube and Google without the involvement of domestic ad agents,” the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said, referring to a June 7 announcement by the Ministry of Information and Communication.
The ministry listed several foreign companies, including Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies, Yamaha Motors and ride-sharing app Grab, which were found to have advertised on videos containing “illegal and malicious content,” it added.
Vietnam’s information ministry has identified about 55,000 YouTube videos it deemed “harmful,” or in violation of Vietnamese law, the agency said. Of these, 8,000 were deleted at the request of Vietnamese authorities.
“In the near future, the authorities will ask YouTube to identify Vietnamese channels, and only certified ones will be considered for ad revenue sharing,” it added, without elaborating.
A controversial law on cybersecurity took effect in January that requires companies to set up offices in Vietnam and store data there.
Global technology firms and rights groups have pushed back against the law, and some company officials have privately expressed concern it could allow authorities to more easily seize customer data and expose Vietnamese employees to arrest.
In the months before introduction of the law, Facebook increased curbs on content by more than 500% in Vietnam, the social media giant said last month.
In January, days after the new law took effect, Vietnam said Facebook had violated it by letting users post anti-government comments.
Vietnam’s information ministry has asked businesses to “actively review” their advertising on social media, VNA said.
“The (information) ministry will work with the State Bank of Vietnam and relevant agencies to closely manage ad revenue flows on YouTube and Google,” it said.
Reuters could not immediately reach a Google spokesman to seek comment.
The settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and the New York state Attorney General is the largest amount in a case involving the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, a 1998 federal law, officials said.
The 76-year-old has posted videos titled "The Biden Crime Family's Payoff Scheme" and "Election Theft of the Century" to his channel, which has around 600,000 subscribers.
Within minutes, social media sites were awash with hashtags including #Googledown and YouTubeDOWN as hundreds of millions of internet users tried vainly to connect to the US search engine.
"We must not permit Daesh and other groups to hijack a religion of tolerance and give credence to their pretenses. I want to reiterate: there is nothing Islamic about terrorism," Abushahab emphasised.
She, however, screamed for help and her neighbours came to her rescue, arrested one of the suspects and handed him over to the police. The court sentenced him to three months in jail to be followed by deportation.
If no change has occurred in the wife’s surname, the person concerned must visit an ICP affiliated customer service centre and bring the necessary documents to update the data in the ID card and in the Population Register Programme, the ICP said.