Facebook in violation of new cybersecurity law, says Vietnam

The social network's alleged refusal to remove offensive content against the government has put it in Vietnam's bad books.

Zoey Chong Reporter
Zoey is CNET's Asia News Reporter based in Singapore. She prefers variety to monotony and owns an Android mobile device, a Windows PC and Apple's MacBook Pro all at the same time. Outside of the office, she can be found binging on Korean variety shows, if not chilling out with a book at a café recommended by a friend.
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Facebook has been criticised by the Vietnamese authorities as the country tightens control over the internet.

Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Trouble is brewing for Facebook in Vietnam.

The social network has infringed on a new cybersecurity law in the country by letting users post content it deemed illegal on its platform, state media reported Wednesday.

Such posts include those containing "slanderous content," "anti-government sentiment" and the defamation of individuals and organisations, it added, citing the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Despite repeated emails, Facebook did not remove the offending content and refused to hand over information on "fraudulent accounts" to the authorities, the ministry alleged.

The report comes more than a week after a controversial law came into effect on Jan. 1. The law requires internet companies to keep user data locally, remove offending content from their platforms and provide user data to the government without the need for a warrant. Vietnam's existing rules penalise comments online that contain "propaganda against the state" and "reactionary ideology."

In addition, the ministry accused Facebook of allowing users to sell and advertise illegal and counterfeit products. It also failed to recognise its tax obligations in Vietnam despite earning $235 million from ad sales last year, causing the state to "lose money," the publication added.

CNET has reached out to Facebook for a comment.

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