Regulating social media and influencers within Vietnam
Policy and Internet
School of Arts and Humanities
Ms. Nguyen Phuong Hang is the CEO of Dai Nam Van Hien, a tourism complex in Binh Duong province in southern Vietnam, and in 2021 she started livestreaming on social media. Hang's livestreams would humiliate celebrities, include personal attacks, criticize media and charity organizations, and use harassing language, resulting in the Vietnamese government regulating social media influencers. Vietnam is a centralized government that promotes the regulation of social media influencers to control the population by censoring content and banning certain discussion topics. This is exemplary of Vietnam's media regulatory environment: Vietnam wants to take advantage of the opportunities that new media and technology bring to promote economic integration, yet the Vietnamese government prefers to accept them by enforcing their adherence to local regulations via regulatory and economic measures. As a result, the Vietnamese government has increased control over livestreaming influencers: any social media account with more than 10,000 followers must provide account holders' contact information to government authorities. Further, social media platforms will be asked to remove content that has been flagged as problematic by government officials, shoring up Vietnam's view on regulation toward foreign social media platforms. These regulations allow the government to control the narrative around social issues and prevent dissenting voices from being heard. Departing from the analysis of Hang's case study, this article examines the current regulatory status of social media users with a specific focus on Vietnamese influencers. The paper also extrapolates the tension that the country faces as it invests and develops its digital and creative industries.