Vietnam to probe TikTok over ‘toxic’ content | Science and Technology News

The app already faces growing pressure from Western governments over fears that user data could be used or abused by Chinese officials.

Vietnam will probe TikTok for “toxic content” hosted by the hugely popular video-sharing app founded by Chinese entrepreneurs.

The communist state has strict curbs on freedom of expression, often cracking down on government critics who find an audience on social media apps.

TikTok has an estimated 50 million users in Vietnam, according to data from research firm DataReporter cited by the government.

It removed 1.7 million videos at the Vietnamese government’s request in the fourth quarter of last year, as they were deemed to be in violation of government policies, according to company data.

The app already faces growing pressure from Western governments over fears that user data could be used or abused by Chinese officials.

It was fined in the United Kingdom this week and banned from official devices in Australia.

Head of Vietnam’s Radio, TV and Electronic Information Le Quang Tu Do said the information department would organize an “inter-ministerial” inspection of the company in May.

“TikTok has no effective control measures over content which violates politics, against party and state, fake news, toxic content,” Do told reporters. The lack of control was “facilitating the dissemination of fake news, causing losses in economics and social instability”, he said. Moderating content on the popular Chinese-owned application that carries bite-sized videos was “far more difficult” than on other platforms, Do added.

“We will need tougher measures to combat that content, removing only is not enough,” Do said, adding that the ministry asked “cross-border platforms to strictly follow Vietnamese laws”.

TikTok was told by the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information in February that a government delegation would visit its Vietnam offices in the second quarter, it told Channel News Asia. Its Chinese owners, Bytedance, did not immediately return the AFP news agency’s request for comment.

The UK’s data regulator said on Tuesday it had fined TikTok 12.7 million pounds ($15.9m) for allowing up to 1.4 million children under 13 to use the platform in violation of its own rules.

Australia banned the app from government devices following similar moves by France, the Netherlands and the European Commission.

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