FlashNote: “#BankruptcyNation” Brings Spotlight on 2015 Criminal Code

A surprise addition to the new Criminal Code threatens Vietnam’s internet start-ups.

A lawyer at a small start-up law firm was perusing the 2015 Criminal Code, set to take effect on 1 July, when he came across a new and entirely unexpected article on penalties for unlicensed internet-related enterprises.

Article 292 of the Code states that any unlicensed provider of Internet- or mobile-based services that generates profits between VND50-100 million (USD $2,200-8,900), or revenue between VND500 million and VND2 billion (USD $22,300-89,300) will […]

By |June 29th, 2016|0 Comments

Fake Pages Test Facebook Community Standards

A public figure takes action against a fake Facebook page that was targeting him with online hate.

Giang Dang checked his Facebook feed on 12 June to come across a ‘Community’ Page with his name, his profile photo, and several posts made purportedly in his name. The posts had dozens or even hundreds of shares. Though not outwardly abusive, the posts made Giang appear conceited based on his intellectual superiority and academic credentials. The comments below the posts heaped scorn on […]

By |June 18th, 2016|0 Comments

Phan Anh and the ‘What’s Your Purpose?’ Meme

Social media fails continue as Vietnam’s mainstream media struggles to gauge popular opinion and adapt to the Facebook era.

Open Hour is a TV show hosted by a well-known journalist, Ta Bich Loan. It’s a talk show where invited guests discuss the latest social issues.

Open Hour was not widely known until the 27 May episode, when the chosen topic was ‘What to share on social media?’ One of the guests was MC and entertainer Phan Anh, who had earlier shared a […]

By |June 17th, 2016|0 Comments

FlashNote: Vietnam’s Fish Fiasco – Social Media, Protest and the Police

Social media anger spilled onto the streets of Vietnam on 8 May. The following weekend, the authorities blocked Facebook and successfully stymied further public demonstrations.

Round one went to the protesters; round two went to the authorities.

On 8 May, Vietnam’s leaders were caught off-guard by the intensity of public protest following the outrage over mass fish deaths along the central coast.

The slogan “Cá cần nước sạch, Dân cần minh bạch” (‘Fish need clean water, people need transparency.’) became a rallying cry. Clearly, […]

By |May 19th, 2016|1 Comment

Social media sides with Vietnam’s dead fishes

As peaceful street protests turned into mild scuffles with the police in Hanoi and HCM City over the weekend, the government’s PR failings took centre stage. With fish dying by the millions along beaches in central Vietnam, the lack of answers resulted in much finger-pointing over the past two weeks, with a Taiwan-invested steel plant owned by Formosa Plastics at the centre of the online firestorm. The company did not help matters when their PR manager initially told reporters, “you […]

By |May 3rd, 2016|0 Comments

FlashNote: Mẹ Sề and Online Hate

Initiatives to combat online hate are slowly making inroads with ‘kindness’ efforts like Tu Te La – but as elsewhere, Vietnam’s online world is rife with animosity.

Microsoft pulled the plug on an artificial intelligence ‘tweeting robot’ last week after ill-intentioned netizens helped it to post offensive, hate-filled comments. Clearly, online hate is pervasive on social media platforms around the world. Vietnam is no exception.

Scholar and social commentator Dang Hoang Giang recently exposed the organized nature of online hate in the […]

By |April 8th, 2016|1 Comment

Quang A on the ‘democratic learning process’

In the lead-up to National Assembly elections in May, upwards of 20 independent candidates have declared their intention to run. Given the tightly controlled and opaque nomination process, most or even all of them are unlikely to be permitted to stand for election (let alone win seats). But that may not matter. The most well-known of the independents, Nguyen Quang A, feels their success is already assured. A key component is the exposure made possible by social media.

“(Social media) is very […]

By |March 13th, 2016|3 Comments

FlashNote: Online Toolkit for Social Activists Set to Expand

‘Justice for Toan’ is a social media campaign that needed only a few days in February to force an official response concerning a young man’s death following routine knee surgery.

The success of #Justicefortoan was no accident – it helped launch a new social campaigning platform called ‘Wake It Up’ (www.wakeitup.net). The platform’s founder, Hoang Duc Minh, helped run the campaign.

Justice for Toan

The backstory of the campaign is the lack of accountability in Vietnam’s health care system. Duong Chau Toan, a […]

By |March 11th, 2016|1 Comment

Vietnam Officialdom on Facebook

This page lists various categories of state and government officials, and political leaders, who maintain Facebook profiles and fan pages.

The list is broken in categories and each page is noted as verified or unverified (with further notes as needed on the ‘confidence level’ of whether pages indeed represent the person or government organization). This is needed given the high number of ‘fake’ and copycat pages on Facebook.

If you know of government or official pages on Facebook not listed here, please […]

By |March 8th, 2016|0 Comments

Independents launch pre-election social media campaigns


Several Hanoi social activists stepped forward over the past month to announce their intention to stand for election to the National Assembly in May 2016.

Social media has been a key means for these independent candidates to gain attention. Their goal appears to be raising awareness among fellow citizens on the voting process, as the Communist Party currently determines who is eligible to run.

The activists acknowledge they are unlikely to receive approval to stand for election. Nonetheless, their posts on social […]

By |February 29th, 2016|0 Comments