Vietnam to conduct ‘comprehensive inspection’ of TikTok over harmful content

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s government said it will probe TikTok’s operations in the country from May, in a bid to ensure the video platform complies with regulations on content management, tax payments and commercial policies.

The popular Chinese-owned application, which carries bite-sized videos, has recently allowed “toxic, offensive, false and superstitious” content on its platform, ministry representative Le Quang Tu Do said in a statement this week.

“TikTok, Facebook and YouTube are all cross-border social media with international standards. But when operating in Vietnam, the platform needs to comply with local regulations on both content and tax obligations,” Do said.

The company said in February it was told by the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information that a government delegation would visit its Vietnam offices in the second quarter.

“This is an interdisciplinary inspection activity planned by the government and in line with Vietnam law for companies operating in Vietnam, not only TikTok,” TikTok Vietnam said in an email.

The platform removed 1.7 million videos on the Vietnamese government’s request in the fourth quarter of last year, as they were deemed to be in violation of government policies, according to company data.

In a statement to Reuters, TikTok Vietnam also said it had upgraded its guidelines expected to take effect from April 24 to be more transparent about its rules and how it would enforce them.

The app has nearly 50 million users in Vietnam aged 18 and above, the government said in a separate statement, citing data from a research company DataReportal.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)