Vietnam says Facebook should adhere by local laws

FILE PHOTO: An internet user browses through the Vietnamese government's new Facebook page in Hanoi, Vietnam December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

HANOI (Reuters) - Companies such as Facebook that operate in Vietnam should abide by local laws and fully implement their tax and social responsibilities in the country, Vietnam’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Reuters exclusively reported that Facebook’s local servers in Vietnam were taken offline in mid-February, slowing local traffic to a crawl until Facebook agreed to a government request to significantly increase the censorship of “anti-state” posts for local users in Vietnam.

“Vietnam’s guidelines are to promote the development of the internet and information and communication technology in the support of the country’s development,” foreign ministry spokesman Ngo Toan Thang told a regular news conference.

“These companies must fully implement their tax and social responsibilities,” Thang said in response to a question about the Reuters report.

Thang said that Facebook had committed to adhering to Vietnamese laws and regulations, and that Vietnam would monitor how it implemented that commitment.

“Information and communication firms should cooperate with the government of Vietnam to build a healthy and safe cyber environment,” he added.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Writing by James Pearson; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alex Richardson