Facebook (Vietnam)

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Date: 2009 to Present

Region: Asia

Subject: Social, Political

Medium: Internet, Social Media, Facebook


Artist: Facebook

Confronting Bodies: The Central Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Dates of Action: August 27, 2009 to Present

Location: Vietnam

Description of Artwork: The social networking website was launched in 2004 and is the biggest social networking website online. It has more than 800 million users and users use it to send messages, make groups, create events, upload pictures, make friends, and spread ideas. The website was created by Mark and several other Harvard students and originally intended for the use of Harvard students only. Users today are a variety of ages. The site's terms of service mandates 13 years old and older-however, according to ConsumersReports.org on May 2011, there are 7.5 million children under 13 years old with accounts. Many groups and events created on Facebook are used to transfer ideas, send information and messages, and organize protests. Some political activists, inside and out of Vietname, have been using the site for propaganda. Movements, petitions, and groups were formed online for propaganda purposes.

The Incident: Following in the footsteps of their northern neighbor, Vietnam, on August 27, 2009, passed a decree to ban Facebook use in the country. Starting on November 11, 2009, Facebook users found themselves unable to access Facebook. Internet providing companies' technicians confirmed that the government ordered them to ban Facebook access to all customers. on December 1, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Nguyen Phuong Nga, said the government was blocking some websites "which were being used to provide information damaging to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam." [1]

Results of Incident: Vietnam receives billions of dollars annually as development aid from democratic countries. The ban was represented the restriction of the freedom of expression to them. When donors gathered for their annual Consultative Group meeting in early December in Hanoi, Facebook was on the agenda. They felt that the ban infringed on people's rights to do business and communicate online. In October, the US Congress passed a resolution calling on Vietnam to end internet restrictions. And in late November, the European Parliament followed the U.S.A. The ban on Facebook is actually very simple to bypass as compared to China's firewall. All the user has to do is change the Domain Name System. This ban is currently still active.

Source: [2]