YouTube may receive a second wave of boycott in Vietnam

YouTube may once again be boycotted by Vietnamese firms due to concerns over the large number of harmful video content published without supervision.

YouTube had a rocky first three months to 2019 as a string of videos applauding violence, swearing, and suicide have been uploaded on the global platform, showing glaring holes in YouTube’s video filter policy.

Specifically, YouTube Kids in early March allowed children to watch a cartoon video suddenly cutting to horror figure Momo encouraging children to commit suicide. Lately, the channels of two Vietnamese individuals named Kha Banh and Duong Minh Tuyen on April 4 were halted for repeatedly violating YouTube’s policy on violence.

However, more telling is the two Vietnamese channels’ list of videos advocating violence and swearing, earning uploaders hundreds of millions of VND before being reported by local netizens. YouTube’s lack of oversight and letting these channels operate raised concerns whether it truly supervises content and whether its video filter policy works.

As a result, a string of companies across the globe have stopped running advertisements on the platform, including Starbucks, Pepsi, and Walmart. Two years ago, Vietnamese firms including Vinamilk, Vinhomes, and Ford Vietnam, also pulled ads from the platform as soon as the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information discovered more than 8,000 harmful videos on 15 YouTube channels.

The wave of boycotting YouTube may return this year as several days ago Vietnam Maritime Joint Stock Commercial Bank (MSB) temporarily halted advertising on YouTube.

Previously, in February 2019, Walt Disney, Nestlé SA, AT&T, and Epic Games, did the same after a blogger discovered a sex criminal network taking advantage of the platform to keep track of young girls and leaving secret signs in the comment column.

“Video content and multi-channel administrators, who are appointed by YouTube, should be the first to take responsibility for the harmful videos because their authorisation allowed the channel to earn money,” said Vo Do Thang, cybersecurity and marketing expert.

However, it would not rule out the possibility that YouTube’s leaders may purposefully ignored or even joined hand with the violation to lure viewers aimed to take advertising money.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and other leaders do not have the ability or do not want to flag misleading and extreme videos because they generate views, according to Bloomberg’s assessment published on April 2.


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