To say Vietnam has a troubled relationship with the Internet would be an understatement. Harassment and arrests by the government are common in Vietnam as some of the means to repress online freedom of speech. It has also passed a decree banning the sharing of news online, making it illegal for social media users to post information gathered from almost all news sources in the name of “national security” and preventing copyright infringement.
Of course, that didn’t stop global social media giant from setting foot in Vietnam.
According to Vietnam Net, Facebook has just officially launch in Vietnam via its media and advertising partners there. It currently has around 20 million users in Vietnam.
The entry to Vietnam is done in partnership with T&A Ogilvy, who is the media representative of Facebook in Vietnam from this month onwards. With no local offices, anyone who wants to be in touch with Facebook can do so through T&A Ogilvy, who will then link them up to Facebook. Another source cited on Vietnam Net also stated that T&A Ogilvy is the advertising representative for Facebook in Vietnam.
Foreign companies offering cross-border services (not opening companies or representative offices in Vietnam) such as Facebook and Google can earn advertising revenues directly or via advertising agents. 80% of revenues are from Vietnamese companies with advertisements connected directly to Facebook and Google while 20% are from their advertising partners in Vietnam.
What’s Facebook’s future in Vietnam?
Social media is tightly regulated in Vietnam. Earlier in October 2013, a Vietnamese Facebook user was sentenced 15 months of house arrest for “abusing” his “freedoms of an ordinary citizen that disrupted the government, government officials, organizations and other citizens”. How? He campaigned online for the release of his brother whom was jailed 15 months for criticizing the government.
In November, the government has also introduced new fines to further regulate online expression in the country. Decree 174/2013 (social media fine), follows up on Decree 72, which restricted the posting of news onto social media, but now it takes an even harder line with a fine of US$5,000.
Of course, other than the government regulation on social media, Facebook also face competition from local social media incumbents, especially Zing.vn.
Whether or not Facebook will continue to attract more users to its platform, users should definitely be wary with what they share on social networks, if they do not want to get into any trouble.
- You might be jailed for sharing news stories online in Vietnam
- Critiquing the Vietnamese Government on Social Media? You could be fined!
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