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Vietnam Today

Vietnam calls on Google to remove toxic information on YouTube

Released at: 18:17, 26/05/2017

Vietnam calls on Google to remove toxic information on YouTube

Photo: VGP

PM seeks tighter cooperation from tech giant to ensure offensive content is removed quickly.

by Duy Anh

At a meeting with Mr. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, on May 26 in Hanoi, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called for tight cooperation to cease the publication of “toxic” anti-government information on YouTube.

With the rapid increase in the popularity of Google’s products in Vietnam, Prime Minister Phuc suggested it open an official representative office in the country to ensure tighter cooperation and the faster handling of related matters.

He noted that Vietnam always creates favorable conditions for businesses to operate and invest in the country, adding that there have been many US companies finding success.

Speaking of his upcoming official visit to the US and dialogue with US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Phuc emphasized that trade, economics, and investment cooperation between the two countries still have much room to grow, to the benefit of both sides.

He complained, however, that in recent times there has been content published on YouTube that is toxic and violates Vietnamese laws on the online environment. He asked Google to tightly cooperate with the Vietnamese side to handle and remove such postings.

For his part, Mr. Schmidt said that Google will work with Vietnam to remove the toxic information and will consider the establishment of a representative office in the country.

Vietnam began putting pressure on advertisers to try to get YouTube owner Google and other companies to remove content from foreign-based dissidents in February, shortly after the information ministry announced that they found 17 YouTube videos that contained slanderous content and distorted historical facts about Vietnam that could stir public unrest.

Top Vietnamese brands, including the State-owned Vinamilk and national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, both suspended their YouTube ads after the government told them their ads had appeared alongside inappropriate content.

Because of the computer-directed processes that pair adverts with their targeted audiences on social media, companies are not always aware of or have direct control over which specific videos have their adverts placed alongside them.

These videos contained advertisements for Vietnamese companies that had signed contracts with the platform through third parties to promote their brands. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism added that it will conduct further investigations and impose a penalty on YouTube for violating Vietnamese advertising regulations.

While Vietnam makes up a very small part of the business operations of companies like Google and Facebook, it is one of Asia’s fastest growing economies and a hot investment target for global consumer brands.

Within Vietnam itself, YouTube and Facebook account for two-thirds of digital media market share, according to Mr. Nguyen Khoa Hong Thanh, Operations Director at digital marketing agency Isobar Vietnam.

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