Amnesty International on Wednesday accused Facebook of “caving” to Vietnam’s strict censorship regime, after the US tech large confirmed it was blocking content material deemed unlawful by the nation’s communist authorities.
Authorities commonly sentence home critics to harsh jail phrases however have come below fireplace not too long ago for focusing on dissent on the world’s hottest social community.
Facebook is a well-liked platform for activists in Vietnam, the place all unbiased media is banned, however the firm confirmed in a press release to AFP that it had been instructed by Hanoi to limit entry to content material “deemed to be illegal”.
“We have taken this action to ensure our services remain available and usable for millions of people in Vietnam, who rely on them every day,” a spokesperson stated.
But Amnesty stated the choice was “a devastating turning point for freedom of expression” in the nation.
“Ruthless suppression of freedom of expression is nothing new, but Facebook’s shift in policy makes them complicit,” stated the rights watchdog’s William Nee.
More than 53 million folks in Vietnam — over half the inhabitants — use Facebook. The platform can also be a vital advertising and marketing instrument for native enterprise.
Domestic social media networks have thus far didn’t win a share of that profitable on-line market.
Since the start of the yr, authorities have questioned lots of of Facebook customers over posts related to the coronavirus pandemic and the federal government’s dealing with of the well being disaster.
Several have been slapped with fines and had their posts eliminated after admitting they’d unfold “fake news”.
The authorities launched a brand new regulation this month that makes it simpler for authorities to high quality and jail on-line critics.
Around 10 p.c of Vietnam’s present crop of political prisoners have been jailed due to their exercise on Facebook, Amnesty says.