In an attempt to battle what the Vietnamese government calls as “toxic” anti-government and fake news, the communist country has called on companies doing business there to stop advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.


Illustration Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

In an unprecedented move, Vietnam has called on all companies doing business in the country to stop advertising on Facebook, YouTube and other social media networks in an attempt to combat what they call “toxic” anti-government media.  According to a report in Reuters, the communist state has been trying to put pressure on internet companies, specifically Google, to remove content posted by dissidents outside of Vietnam, but has felt such efforts to be short-coming.

In an attempt to catalyze the progress, Vietnam’s Information and Communication Minister Truong Minh Tuan met with companies in Hanoi to discuss the matter.

“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,” said Tuan at the meeting, according to Reuters. “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.”

Following the reported meeting in Hanoi, local firms of major international companies, Yamaha, Unilever, and Ford, all agreed to stop running advertisements on the social media platforms.

According to Reuters, Vietnam claims that of the estimated 8,000 anti-government videos on YouTube only 42 have been blocked, despite the country’s information restriction ban known as Decree 72. The decree aims to ban all media and information that is considered by the government to be “anti-government, damaging to national security or destroying national unity.”

Jeff Paine, the managing director of The Asia Internet Coalition told Reuters that although some governments frequently struggle with social media networks, the call by one for companies to stop running their advertisements on them is unparalleled.