Vietnam says over 3,200 "toxic" social media posts removed in Q1

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HANOI, March 29 (Reuters) - Social media platforms operating in Vietnam have removed more than 3,200 posts and videos that contained false information and violated the country's law in the first quarter, the information ministry said on Tuesday.

Vietnam has repeatedly asked companies like Facebook (FB.O), Google's YouTube (GOOGL.O) and TikTok to coordinate with authorities to stamp out offensive, false, and anti-state content.

During the first three months of this year, in accordance with government requests, Facebook removed 525 posts, the ministry said in a statement. YouTube removed 2,679 videos while TikTok took down 71 clips, the ministry said in a statement.

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Facebook, Google, and TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Google's Transparency Report showed that in the first half of 2021 it received 326 requests from Vietnam to take down YouTube content, and 300 of those were for government criticism.

In a separate report, the information ministry said it ordered the same social media companies to block and remove over 28,100 posts last year.

Despite economic liberalisation and increasing openness to social change since the 1990s, the ruling Communist Party maintains tight media censorship and tolerates little dissent.

Vietnam has tightened internet rules over the past few years, culminating in a cybersecurity law which came into effect in 2019 and national guidelines on social media behaviour introduced in June last year.

Critics have raised concerns the law could hand the authorities more power to crack down on dissidents by forcing social media companies to provide their customers' data.

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Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

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