The 88 Project this week joined 20 other international organizations in calling on the Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, to discuss issues of freedom of expression and human rights in digital spaces and share her dossier of information with international civil society groups.
“Whistle-blowers like you show the urgent need to set democratic rules and human rights framework for digital platforms. Your revelations have laid bare some of the systemic risks deriving from the tech giant’s misbehaviour that we have been denouncing for years: social media companies like Facebook continue to resist changing their extractive and divisive business models, despite knowing that their products and commercial logics are harming users.”
Facebook has a history of complying with the Vietnamese government’s requests to censor posts and take down activists’ accounts. Moreover, there are groups of pro-government harassers who roam social media largely unchecked, targeting dissenting viewpoints. In a recent announcement, though, Facebook said it has removed from its platform “a network of accounts” that targeted activists critical of the Vietnamese government.
Regardless, open discussion on human rights and the protection of human rights defenders in online spaces is still critical. As of December 8, 2021, there are 216 political prisoners currently behind bars in Vietnam. Dozens of these people have no formal history of activism and are imprisoned simply for expressing their opinions online. Thirty-nine of these online commentators have been arrested since 2019 alone.
Read the full letter to Frances Haugen, here.
© 2021 The 88 Project
Featured image is Phan Bui Bao Thy, an online commentator who was arrested in February 2021 and is still awaiting trial