Friday, November 8, 2019

Facebook an important weapon in the politics of Vietnam.

Facebook an important weapon in the politics of Vietnam. Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberger. It was initially meant for students of Harvard University. Over the years, it grew to include all universities in Boston and presently it has become global (Phillips 3). There are no charges for registration on the site.Advertising We will write a custom case study sample on Facebook an important weapon in the politics of Vietnam. specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More Facebook generates its income from advertising (Phillips 4). It is the biggest site of its kind that focuses on education. Facebook’s management structure has Mark Zuckerberg as Chairman and principal executive officer. The company has operations in many countries around the globe. There are staff members that autonomously manage operations in these countries. The staff may be based in any part of the world because Facebook is Internet based. These people are responsible for daily decisions regarding Facebook operation s in the host country. Policy guidelines are laid out by the principal executive officer, and board of directors has to be considered for every decision. This method of management is quite effective. It allows individuals with knowledge on certain aspects of an economy to guide the business accordingly for achievement of objectives. One of Facebook’s objectives as a business is to connect all people who were part of a school, college or University. A key aspect in the success of any media platform in a country is knowledge of the spoken indigenous language (Kreitner 210). A country like Vietnam has its indigenous language as the official language. This means operation in that country has to be in Vietnamese, and that is what Facebook has done in Vietnam. Vietnam’s economy is growing at a very fast rate. This economic growth and development comes with increased use of certain services. One of these services is the Internet. Many people in developed and emerging economie s access information and disperse news through social media. The economy in South East Asia has not been left behind. There is a rampant use of social media use in Vietnam, and Facebook has the majority of users. Vietnam has become the leader in relation to Facebook users in the region. Users of Facebook in Vietnam are very aggressive in sharing information on political injustice. At the moment, 71.4% of all the people who use the Internet in Vietnam are registered (Thang 20).Advertising Looking for case study on communication strategies? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More There are about 32 million Internet users in this country going by the latest records. Facebook has around twenty two million users in Vietnam. These are many people by any standards. The rate at which these users increase is also fast. In 2012, there existed only 8.5 million registered users in Vietnam (Thang 20). Fourteen million new users joined Fa cebook in Vietnam within that time. Compare this with Six million users of Facebook who dropped its use in America in a period of one month. No other country in the world has this record of Facebook growth. Examining the two nations in terms of Facebook’s growth, they are the exact opposite when parameters like registrations and usage are considered. Such rates are encouraging to those keen on marketing their businesses in the Vietnamese economy. There is another good side to a population that is aggressive on Facebook. It is the ability to share opinions on issues. Facebook has empowered the people of Vietnam to share their opinion using Facebook. They are no longer afraid to air their opinion through social media (Do 2). The environment in Vietnam is not very conducive for the press. The Vietnamese administration uses a number of tactics to suppress members of the third estate. The targeted are people who raise questions about the conduct of government, and activists who in quire about state accountability on matters related to public finance. These methods of suppression are both physical and legal in their manner of orchestration. The legal means is misuse of permissible instruments meant for ensuring justice. Intimidation from the state has left very few options for dissenting voices. The only way to give one’s opinion on political issues without becoming a target is through the Internet. This is mostly done through social media and blogs (Freedom House 10). Three well known bloggers are under prosecution on charges made up by the government to silence their opinion. They have a good chance of being sentenced to two decades in prison. The charges are dubious and branded as influencing the Vietnamese population through propaganda against the government. The bloggers stirred up the wrath of authorities by questioning the unlawful acquisition of land by the state, and irregularly granting China territorial concessions (Borders (RWB) 4). The Inte rnational Federation for human rights (FIDH) had concerns with the way the Vietnamese authorities were unpredictable and lacked transparency on the topics that the bloggers were barred from covering.Advertising We will write a custom case study sample on Facebook an important weapon in the politics of Vietnam. specifically for you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More According to FIDH, it was a way of intimidating the bloggers (Gaydazhieva 6). There has been an increase in the surveillance of bloggers in Vietnam. Ten years ago, bloggers were not under strict government surveillance. The government has realised that blogs are a â€Å"safe haven† for critics of its policies. It views these platforms as dangerous and capable of igniting a revolution (Thang 26). There is a unit under the ministry of Public Security that monitors Internet users who visit sites that cover politically sensitive issues. The government also perceives websites like Facebook as threats in dispersing information. It is in this regard that it has created its own social network platform. It probably plans to utilise this platform to fortify its Internet monitoring programs for the citizens (Opennet 5). Things are worse at the moment with the state’s enforcement of a Decree called 72. This was done in 1st of September 2013. This legislation is not very clear on issues concerning the media, and touches on certain aspects of bloggers and users of popular social media such as Facebook (J. Phillips 2). Under the legislation, there should be no discussions about political issues or any other information that is not personal in relation to the definition of the authorities in any form of media. It would be criminal to engage in the mentioned exchanges. The state claims that its aim is to protect citizens from becoming corrupt because of the influence of information streaming from other nations (Shubber 3). Most people registered on Facebook in Vietnam could n ot access it for a while because of government restrictions. There is some amount of truth in this belief because Vietnamese authorities believe Facebook has a hand in the social unrest that plagues the country. The conflict is about the high cost of living in a country whose economy used to be stable. Inflation is now over 10%, and the price of rice has considerably increased. The state believes that demonstrations witnessed recently are coordinated through this social media platform. The people of Vietnam are aware of other means to go around government restrictions on access of Facebook. Most of them can access their Facebook accounts through a trick from Google called Domain Name System (DNS). Previously, this go-around did not work. It was only possible to gain access through other advanced tools for bypassing the security checks such as HotpotShield, Tor and a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This troubled access has been on for about two years (Do 1).Advertising Looking for case study on communication strategies? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More The method of blockage implemented by Vietnamese authorities does not guarantee that users are denied access compared to what happens in China. China blocks use of such sites from the Internet Service Providers (ISP). Using Internet service providers is more effective than Vietnam’s method (Clark 5). Facebook is the only means Vietnamese can use to share opinions on political matters. Close monitoring and stringent rules leave no other option. People in this country are scared of arrests by the police that results in long sentences or death in police stations (Great Britain Foreign and Commonwealth Office 166). The impact of Facebook in Vietnam cannot be underestimated. This was witnessed on October 4th 2013 with the death of independence hero Vo Nguyen Giap. Many Facebook users in Vietnam put his face in their profiles. Use of pictures without any words was a coded message that is political in nature. It is difficult to prosecute a person on the basis of a morally upright pi cture that has been posted on his profile. There was something similar when China and Vietnam were not in agreement over territorial ownership of some islands. Vietnamese posted pictures showing a Chinese naval officer guarding what was marked as Vietnam territory. Coded message was shared before the restriction on Facebook was imposed in Vietnam. It resulted in demonstrations against China that many Vietnamese believed was violating their country’s sovereignty. Obviously, many of them were not happy about the way their country was run. Citizens of Vietnam believe that there is no capable leader in their country. The only leader that the citizens saw was the late Giap because he liberated them from the colonialists. They find themselves colonised by a waning economy and corrupt leaders (‘’How a Facebook profile has become a political tool in Vietnam’’ 2). It is obvious that the state has noticed this trend. Another Facebook blockage would likely exp ose the leadership at this moment as undemocratic and against any reforms. This means that social media users have a chance to continue with their coded messages. In a country where media freedom is controlled by a regime keen on taming real democracy, this is the citizens’ only platform to express discontent. Vietnamese government has a number of times tried to control Facebook in the same way it does other formal media and blogs. This has not been easy because the Facebook servers used by Vietnam are not within its borders. It has on many occasions requested that Facebook maintains an office in the country. Facebook is reluctant because it wants to protect its revenue generated by users registered in the country. This gives Vietnamese another opportunity to continue sharing coded messages that are political. In Vietnam, the government controls the media directly or indirectly. Editors and many journalists employed in media houses are under a strong influence of the governme nt. In some cases, the Vietnamese government or a high-ranking state official is the majority shareholder of media companies. In addition, the government keeps media chiefs in check by holding regular meetings with them on the content they put out to the public. Foreign journalists are controlled by being given short government work permits. Foreign journalists who do not report favourably about the government will most likely have their work permits revoked (Nguyen 3). The media that lean on only one side of a political divide cannot be trusted to drive change that citizens of Vietnam yearn. In Facebook, users have the option of engaging one another even through the use of coded messages unlike other media controlled by the state. The Internet and Facebook have the ability to bring political change in a society. The Arab spring is a good example of how this feat is achievable. It can be concluded that it brings about liberation to the common man, whether real or imagined (Storck 4) . Facebook as an Internet tool is useful in convincing people about political opinions. This should not be overlooked by any person in power in today’s age. Facebook could become the genesis of involving people in the governance of their country. It can also be a useful way of communication between the government and its citizens (Bunyavejchewin 69). It can be used to propagate harmony in the society. Governments should harness this characteristic because it is a powerful media platform. The legislation proposed by the government of Vietnam cannot be implemented. Even if it is implemented, the costs involved will be so much for the government. Vietnamese administration is trying desperately to keep people from sharing opinions on how their country is governed. This is not the right approach in a world that is connected and full of tech savvy individuals. Vietnamese government should tackle issues of governance raised by its citizens through the same means. There is no use cre ating replica services that are expensive to run. A well-informed government can counter embarrassing demonstrations that it desperately tries to contain by using media professionals. The country stands to benefit from a government that allows media to operate in such a way through increased foreign investment in the sector. In this case, we see how the structure of this social network giant in management helps it in navigating an environment that is not very friendly. Its decision to host servers outside Vietnam has made it the only option for expression of political discontent in an ingenious and immune way. Facebook enables the leaders in Vietnam to realise that they cannot be fully in control of the way people express themselves. It is a simple case that depicts the impact of social media on governance and leadership of nations. Facebook and other social media have been use to bring down governments- case in point the Arab spring. The world is changing in term of the way informa tion is relayed. Governments will soon realise that silencing media platforms is not easy. People can voice their concerns through social media platforms like Facebook when the government gags the main stream media. Bunyavejchewin, Poowin. Internet Politics: Internet as a Political Tool in Thailand. Canadian Social Sciences. Vol 6, No. 3, 2010, pp. 66-72. Web. Clark, Helen. Facebook in Vietnam: Why the block doesnt work. 5th May 2010. Web. Do, Anh-Minh. How a Facebook profile picture has become a political tool in Vietnam. 15th October 2013. Web. Do, Anh-Minh. Vietnams Facebook penetration hits over 70%, adding 14 million users in one year. 25th September 2013. Web. Freedom House. Vietnam 2013. Web. Gaydazhieva, Stanislava. Media: Activists criticise Internet freedom in Vietnam – New Europe. 28th February 2013. Web. Great Britain: Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Annual report on human rights 2009. 2010. London: The Stationary Office. Print. Kreitner, Robert. Management. 2008. New York: Cengage Learning, Print. Nguyen, Giang. Vietnam. 1st January 2010. Web. Opennet: Vietnam 2012. Web. Phillips, Jak. ‘The Civil Disobedience of the 21st Century’: How Vietnamese Bloggers Evade Controls. 1st October 2013. Web. Phillips, Sarah. A brief history o f Facebook. 25th July 2007. Web. Reporters Without Borders (RWB). Special report: Crackdown on the media and dissent in Vietnam. 25th September 2013. Web. . Shubber, Kadhim. Vietnam to ban discussion of news on social media sites. 6th August 2013. Web. Storck, Madeline 2011, The Role of Social Media in Political Mobilisation: a casestudy of the January 2011 Egyptian Uprising. PDF file. 20th December 2011. Thang, Nguyen Lang. Vietnams press freedom shrinks despite open economy. 19th September 2012. Web.

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