Vietnam will block payments Google makes for YouTube content that violates its laws as it seeks to force the company to follow local regulations.
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said at a meeting Tuesday with businesses advertising on Google that international businesses have not bothered to invest in developing algorithms to block inappropriate content though have the technology to do so.
They need to follow Vietnam’s laws like they do in their own country, he warned. "Vietnam does not welcome cross-border businesses which do not comply with its laws. The government will use all legal, economic and technical means to ensure they follow regulations."
Hung said his ministry would "clean up" cyberspace for Vietnamese users, create a legal framework to punish toxic content creators and force businesses to acquire tools that prevent their ads from being displayed together with toxic content.
The meeting was convened by authorities after they had recently discovered many ads displayed along with "toxic, reactionary content" on YouTube.
The ministry has ordered 60 local companies and major foreign brands to stop advertising on YouTube videos that contain anti-government content. They include Samsung, Grab, Sun Group, Yamaha, Shopee, VNG, Huawei, Watsons, and Thai Tuan Fashion.
While Google has made efforts to block or take down nearly 8,000 videos on YouTube at the request of Vietnamese authorities, the latter found that the video-sharing site's content management mechanism is inadequate, making such efforts futile.
There are still around 55,000 videos with "toxic, illegal" content on YouTube, according to the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information.
Vietnam is among the five biggest global markets for YouTube in terms of how long users spend watching videos on it, a company spokesperson said.
YouTube was the second-most accessed site in the country with a user ratio of 59 percent, behind only Facebook’s 61 percent, according to a report in 2018 by marketing and advertising agency We Are Social.