Vietnam ramps up pressure on Google’s YouTube advertisers

The ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent. (AFP)
Updated 12 June 2019

Vietnam ramps up pressure on Google’s YouTube advertisers

  • The ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent
  • Vietnam’s information ministry has identified about 55,000 YouTube videos it deemed in violation of the law

HANOI: Vietnam has asked companies not to advertise on videos hosted by Google’s YouTube that contain “anti-state propaganda,” state media said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country ramps up pressure on global tech giants.
Despite economic reforms and increasing openness to social change, the ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent.
“Google was found to loosely manage its content, allowing users to buy ads directly from YouTube and Google without the involvement of domestic ad agents,” the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said, referring to a June 7 announcement by the Ministry of Information and Communication.
The ministry listed several foreign companies, including Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies, Yamaha Motors and ride-sharing app Grab, which were found to have advertised on videos containing “illegal and malicious content,” it added.
Vietnam’s information ministry has identified about 55,000 YouTube videos it deemed “harmful,” or in violation of Vietnamese law, the agency said. Of these, 8,000 were deleted at the request of Vietnamese authorities.
“In the near future, the authorities will ask YouTube to identify Vietnamese channels, and only certified ones will be considered for ad revenue sharing,” it added, without elaborating.
A controversial law on cybersecurity took effect in January that requires companies to set up offices in Vietnam and store data there.
Global technology firms and rights groups have pushed back against the law, and some company officials have privately expressed concern it could allow authorities to more easily seize customer data and expose Vietnamese employees to arrest.
In the months before introduction of the law, Facebook increased curbs on content by more than 500 percent in Vietnam, the social media giant said last month.
In January, days after the new law took effect, Vietnam said Facebook had violated it by letting users post anti-government comments.
Vietnam’s information ministry has asked businesses to “actively review” their advertising on social media, VNA said.
“The (information) ministry will work with the State Bank of Vietnam and relevant agencies to closely manage ad revenue flows on YouTube and Google,” it said.


Google completes first drone delivery in the US

Updated 19 October 2019

Google completes first drone delivery in the US

  • The yellow and white drones are loaded with packages at a local center of operations called the “Nest”
  • Other companies are working to launch similar services, most notably Amazon, UPS and Uber Eats

WASHINGTON: Alphabet (Google) subsidiary Wing has become the first company in the United States to deliver packages by drone.
In Christiansburg, the small Virginia town chosen as Wing’s test location, the 22,000 residents can order products normally shipped by FedEx, medicine from Walgreens and a selection of candy from a local business — all of which will arrive via drone.
Wing, which already operates in two Australian cities as well as Helsinki, announced in a statement that the first drone-powered deliveries had taken place Friday afternoon in Christiansburg, “paving the way for the most advanced drone delivery service in the nation.”
One family used the Wing app to order Tylenol, cough drops, Vitamin C tablets, bottled water and tissues, the statement said.
An older resident ordered a birthday present for his wife. Although the majority of the delivery was done by a FedEx truck, the last mile was completed by drone.
The yellow and white drones are loaded with packages at a local center of operations called the “Nest,” where Wing employees pack them with up to three pounds (1.3 kilograms) of goods, deliverable within a six mile (10 kilometer) radius.
Once they have arrived at their destination, the drones don’t land. Instead, they hover above the house and lower the package with a cable.
Other companies are working to launch similar services, most notably Amazon, UPS and Uber Eats. But Wing was the first to obtain a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), authorizing company pilots to fly multiple drones at the same time.