Vietnam accuses TikTok of failing to block illegal content

The official report highlights TikTok’s deficiencies in protecting children from inappropriate content, ensuring their privacy, and addressing violations of intellectual property rights regulations.

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Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications has accused TikTok of not effectively filtering out content that breaks the law in the country. According to the report, inspections conducted by the authorities found that the platform also stored illegal content, including material that could incite violence and harm children.

TikTok, in turn, has assured its cooperation with Vietnamese authorities to address concerns about content regulation while prioritizing user safety. This follows earlier criticisms of the platform’s oversight in Vietnam, which led to the spread of fake news and anti-government content, according to authorities.

The report also highlights TikTok’s failure to protect children from inappropriate content and ensure their privacy and violations of intellectual property rights regulations. While Vietnam allows access to worldwide social platforms, the government rigorously supervises its internet. It is currently considering a decree to disconnect services for those posting illegal content online.

Why does it matter?

TikTok is one of Vietnam’s most popular social media platforms, with a significant user base of 49.86 million users aged 18 and above in early 2023. Its closely monitored internet landscape reflects broader concerns about freedom and government control over online content. In 2020, an Amnesty International report disclosed that 21 out of 27 prisoners of conscience incarcerated in Vietnam were primarily detained due to their online expression, while a recent report from the 88 Project has indicated that Vietnam currently holds nearly 200 human rights defenders in custody, many of whom are facing charges linked to their online activities. As platforms are urged to enhance their content moderation, it’s crucial to remain vigilant to ensure that this doesn’t compromise users’ freedom of expression in favor of catering to the interests of governments.