Facebook and Technology Companies under Scrutiny by Governments

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Tuan Pham is a computer engineer from Vietnam, and he recently learned about the blunt side of the law. He was recently woken by police officers from his Hanoi home and taken to the nearest police station. It’s here where he was asked to surrender his Facebook account and password. He had earlier written a poem of the social media profile criticizing the Vietnamese government. He demanded to know why they were poor and hungry yet a century had passed. This is just a revelation of what has been happening in Vietnam. A few days before the incident, the social media giant willingly accepted to hand over a branch of its operation to the Vietnamese government. This came after Monika Bickert who is the head of global policy management travelled to the country to meet with government officials. During the meeting, Facebook agreed that they would remove the content that violated Vietnamese laws. Facebook recently said that its policies in the country remain intact. Moreover, they say that they have put in place measures that allow the host government to report content they deem illegal. The Vietnamese government, however, insists that they have amicably agreed with Facebook to remove inaccurate posts especially the ones attacking senior government officials.

To be able to reach its one billion customer target, Facebook has to rely on developing nations that are populous like Vietnam. The promise to the Vietnamese government helped the company improve its ads business in the country. Previously, the government discouraged local companies from using international sites for marketing with Facebook being one of them. This is what has been happening elsewhere in the tech industry. Taming the internet has been one of the most challenging issues to many regimes. The only government that seems to be winning in this war is the Chinese government. The damage that can be made by the internet concerning politics, commerce and speech has become apparent with the Arab Spring Rising, confusion in Indonesia as well as the French elections. This is happening in the United States also with Facebook currently being forced to corporate with the Robert S. Mueller investigation. With a fight for online space, countries are crashing with major tech companies. This has led to a complete set of rules for big companies such as Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and even Google. At the moment, a recent study shows that close to 50 nations around the globe have enacted laws that govern how the internet should be used in the country.

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