Vietnam cautions YouTube advertisers over anti-state videos

The YouTube application is seen in an iPhone screen. Photo by Nik on Unsplash

Vietnam’s government has called on businesses and advertising agencies to steer clear of advertising on YouTube videos that feature “toxic” anti-state content.

“YouTube advertisers should stop posting on channels that feature toxic anti-state content,” Information and Communications minister Nguyen Manh Hung said after a meeting on Tuesday with brands including Yamaha, Grab, VNG and Shopee. “Enterprises, whether inside or outside the country, must comply with the laws of the country.”

A cybersecurity law, which came into force in January this year, requires internet companies operating in Vietnam to store user data locally, remove content deemed offensive from their platforms, and provide user data to the government without requiring a warrant.

The country also has provisions to penalise user comments online that contain “propaganda against the state” and “reactionary ideology.”

On Tuesday, ministry officials said 100 domestic brands were found to have posted ads on 55,000 YouTube videos with toxic or illegal content. These brands have been sent a warning letter by the ministry, said Nguyen Thanh Lam, head of the Broadcasting and Digital Information Department at the ministry of information and communications.

Eager not to run afoul of the government, brands at the meeting on Tuesday said they are complying with the laws. “We are reviewing very carefully all the channels that we are operating to lower the risks in the future,” said Tran Tuan Anh from online retailer Shopee.

It is understood that Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies, Yamaha Motors and Grab were among brands found to have advertised on videos containing “illegal and malicious content”.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.