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Vietnam activists flock to ‘secure’ social media after cyber crackdown

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HANOI: Tens of heaps of Vietnamese social media customers are flocking to a self-professed unfastened speech platform to keep away from hard net controls in a new cybersecurity regulation, activists advised.

The draconian regulation requires internet groups to clean essential content and surrender user facts if Vietnam’s Communist government needs it.

The invoice, that is due to take impact from January 1, sparked an outcry from activists, who say it is a chokehold on free speech in a country in which there may be no unbiased press and wherein facebook is a critical lifeline for bloggers.

The sector’s main social media website has fifty three million users in Vietnam, a country of ninety three million.

Many activists are actually turning to Minds, a US-based totally open-source platform, fearing fb may be complying with the new regulations.

“We want to hold our impartial voice and we also want to make a factor to fb that we’re not going to simply accept any censorship,” Tran Vi, editor of activist web page The Vietnamese, that’s blocked in Vietnam, instructed AFP from Taiwan.

Some activists say they migrated to Minds after content removal and abuse from seasoned-government facebook customers.

Two editors’ fb money owed were briefly blocked and The Vietnamese fb web page can not use the “on the spot article” tool to put up stories.

Nguyen Chi Tuyen, an activist higher regarded with the aid of his online deal with Anh Chi, says he has moved to Minds as a relaxed alternative, even though he’ll preserve the use of fb and Twitter.

“It’s extra nameless and a secretive platform,” he stated of Minds.

He has formerly had to quit non-public information to fb to verify his identity and now fears that data could be used against him.
‘scary’ regulation

approximately one hundred,000 new energetic users have registered in Vietnam in less than per week, many posting on politics and contemporary affairs, Minds founder and CEO invoice Ottman told AFP.

“This new cybersecurity law is scaring a whole lot of human beings for right motive,” he stated from Connecticut.

“It’s honestly frightening to assume which you could not best be censored however have your non-public conversations given to a central authority that you don’t realize what they’re going to apply that for.”

The surge of latest users from Vietnam now accounts for almost 10 percentage of Minds overall consumer base of about 1.1 million.

Users are not required to register with personal information and all chats are encrypted.

Vietnam’s government ultimate year announced a 10,000-strong cybersecurity navy tasked with tracking incendiary fabric on-line.

In its unabashed defence of the new law, Vietnam has said it’s miles aimed at shielding the regime and keeping off a “colour revolution”, but refused to remark to AFP on Thursday.

Facebook advised AFP it’s miles reviewing the law and says it considers authorities requests to take down statistics in step with its community standards — and pushes again while possible.

Google declined to touch upon the new regulation while requested by AFP, however their latest Transparency record confirmed that it had obtained 67 separate requests from the Vietnamese authorities to remove greater than 6,500 gadgets considering the fact that 2009, most people on account that early remaining 12 months.

Maximum were taken down, though Google does no longer provide precise data on content elimination compliance.

Ottman says international locations like Vietnam are fighting a dropping conflict looking to manage online expression.

“It’s like burning books, it just reasons extra interest to be brought to the ones issues and it in addition radicalises the ones customers due to the fact they’re so disappointed that they’re getting censored,” he said.

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