On December 22, the Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan announced Vietnam's "pioneering" success in implementing regulations on major global service providers, including Facebook and Google. The ministry had issued its Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information the task of asking the two giants to remove what they deemed to be "toxic" content.
"One of the highlights of the ministry this year is making Vietnam one of those countries pioneering in implementing measures to tighten the management of enterprises providing trans-border services, particularly Google and Facebook," the Minister said, as reported by British tech tabloid the Inquirer.
According to Truong Minh Tuan, Vietnam had successfully requested that Facebook remove some 159 accounts deemed guilty of slandering its officials and leaders, as well as posting "anti-Party and State content." Another 107 "fake accounts" and 394 others that advertised illegal services and products were also banned, the minister said, according to the Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre News.
Truong Minh Tuan went on to say that one of the main goals for his ministry next year is to finish working on guidelines and regulations regarding foreign companies that provide internet-based content in the country, citing previously that there is concern over "some forces" using foreign platforms to disseminate "toxic" anti-government information, writes Tuoi Tre News.
While Vietnam might boast of its "pioneering" effort to remove undesirable internet content, this is merely a relatively small aspect of a much larger global trend.
In Germany, for instance, Angela Merkel requested that Facebook remove accounts which post content that is critical of their immigration policies. During the summer, German lawmakers passed a controversial law that would threaten social media companies fines of up to 50 million euros social media companies that did not take down posts containing "hate speech" within 24 hours. It was also a topic in the run-up to Germany's September general elections.
The United States is also engaged in controversy and debate over alleged "fake news" leading to Donald Trump's election to the presidency, and China's efforts to block certain internet content is well known. Even Google has been accused of meddling with how it allows content to be ranked for views online.