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Facebook-Style Social Network Launches in Vietnam

Vietnamese users and enterprises are relying too much on Facebook as there are not so many social networks

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FILE - A Vietnamese policeman uses his mobile phone in Hanoi, Feb. 26, 2019. VOA

A Facebook-style social network was launched in Vietnam on Tuesday, Gapo, a mobile app that lets users create personal profiles and share posts to a Facebook style “news feed”, has received 500 billion dong ($21.55 million) in funding from tech corporation G-Group, its chief executive, Ha Trung Kien, said.

“Vietnamese users and enterprises are relying too much on Facebook as there are not so many social networks for them to choose from,” Kien said, adding that Gapo plans to reach 3 million users in 2019 and 20 million by January 2021.

Despite economic reforms and increasing openness to social change, the ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent.

An increasing number of activists and dissidents have been arrested or tried over the last year for posting online content considered to be “anti-state”.

Facebook, App, Vietnam
A Facebook-style social network was launched in Vietnam on Tuesday, Gapo, a mobile app that lets users create personal profiles and share posts to a Facebook style “news feed”. Pixabay

Nearly 10% of the 128 prisoners held in the Southeast Asian country for expressing dissenting views were jailed for posting anti-state comments on social media platforms such as Facebook, Amnesty International said in May.

Vietnam has also ramped up pressure on firms such as Google and Facebook with a controversial cybersecurity law that took effect in January.

Global technology firms and rights groups have pushed back against the law, which requires companies to set up offices in Vietnam and store data there.

In September 2018, Information Minister Nguyen Manh Hung urged Vietnamese companies to create viable domestic alternatives to foreign social media platforms.

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Last month, Vietnam asked companies not to advertise on videos hosted by Google’s YouTube that contain “anti-state” propaganda.

Domestic social platforms built prior to Gapo, such as VietnamTa and Hahalolo are also similar to Facebook, although neither has managed to build a large user base.

Gapo has teamed with Sony Music Entertainment as a strategic partner to feature music content on the app, it said in a statement. (VOA)

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Facebook Suffers Major Outage Across the World

Other than a 'degraded performance', Facebook was yet to issue a statement whether the outage was fixed

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook on Sunday faced major outage in the UK, the US and parts of Europe and Asia as users were not able to access News Feed and Notifications.

The outage monitor website Down Detector reported more than 4,000 reports from users, saying they faced issues with News Feed and Notifications features on the social networking giant.

The server status page on Facebook said: “We are currently experiencing degraded performance across the entire platform, resulting in increased request response time. Our team is aware of the issue and is working on a solution”.

facebook, instant games
FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The users flooded Twitter, saying they can’t see the popular News Feed.

“When Facebook goes down, I always go to Twitter to check if it’s not just me,” tweeted one user.

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“All my Facebook notifications have gone. Has anyone else experienced the same?” tweeted another.

Other than a ‘degraded performance’, Facebook was yet to issue a statement whether the outage was fixed. (IANS)