Vietnam wants 50 percent of social media users on domestic platforms by 2020


HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam wants 50 percent of its social media customers to use domestic social networks by 2020 and plans to prevent “toxic information” on Facebook and Google, the information ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The ministry has been drafting a code of conduct for the internet to “build a healthy and safe network environment”.

“We are also conducting research into measures which would prevent negative and toxic information on two foreign platforms, Facebook and Google,” the ministry said in its statement.

Despite sweeping economic reforms and growing openness to social change, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party tolerates little dissent and exercises strict controls over media.

Last week, the government released a long-waited draft decree on guidelines to implement a cybersecurity law that global technology companies and rights groups have said could undermine development and stifle innovation.

Both Facebook and Google, both of which are widely used in Vietnam and serve as the main platforms for dissidents, do not have local offices or local data storage facilities and have objected to the localization requirements of the law.

In September, Minister of Information Nguyen Manh Hung said Vietnam should promote home-grown social media networks to compete with the likes of Facebook and capture more of the market.

Thursday’s statement said three Vietnamese firms would be assigned the task of increasing the market share to 50 percent: a messaging app called Zalo, owned by VNG Corp, a video-sharing platform called Mocha, and an online publisher, VCCorp, which runs several news and e-commerce websites.

Zalo is Vietnam’s premier chatting platform, with more than 100 million users, but Mocha and VCCorp struggle to match the massive popularity of Google’s YouTube, and Facebook.

Reporting by James Pearson and Khanh Vu; Editing by Robert Birsel

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