Vietnam moves to cope with unconventional challenges on social media

Social media regulation, particularly relating to Facebook, was an agenda-topping item for various Vietnamese state agencies in 2017, highlighting the country’s apparent maneuvers to counter new threats in cyberspace. With Vietnam’s tax authorities unable to develop a viable strategy to force Internet-based technology giants to pay taxes and the Ministry of Information and Communications’ concern that social media is providing an easily accessible place for publishing “toxic content,” a Party-run agency has been created to focus on ‘orienting’ content on certain platforms. Social media as a medium for ideology sharing At a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City late last year to recap its 2017 action plan, Vo Van Thuong, head of the Vietnamese Party’s Central Commission for Propaganda and Education, spent a chunk of his speaking time focusing on issues related to social media content. Thuong said social media can create profound impacts on public sentiment and make individuals more vulnerable.  “To some extent, [social media] also makes people more senseless and heartless,” he added. The Central Commission for Propaganda and Education, an advisory organ for the Party, is in charge of articulating and developing the Party theory and ideology in such fields as publishing, culture, arts, and education. Vo Van Thuong, head of the Vietnamese Party’s Central Commission for Propaganda and Education, speaks at an event in Ho Chi Minh City on December 25, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre While two people may never engage themselves in an aggressive quarrel in real life, social media seems to fuel their…

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