Facebook LogoThough not official, it has become clear that Facebook has been blocked in Vietnam for a good while now.  Access is intermittent at best and only the tech-savvy few can circumvent the block.  However, as of last week, that appears to have changed.

FPT, Vietnam’s telecom giant, signed into partnership with Facebook last week.

Yes, this is the same FPT that many accused of shutting down Facebook.  With the new partnership, FPT will help promote and sell ads for Facebook.  FPT will also consult in developing the Facebook application especially for the Vietnam market.

This is a huge, and surprising step for Vietnam.  First, it further opens the channel for Vietnamese people to be part of the global network (Facebook is 500 million members strong).  Second, it is an indicator that Vietnam has a willingness to deviate from the policies of its neighbor to the north.  It is easy to be cynical and question the motives behind the partnership, but at the end of the day it is a move in the right direction that will ultimately benefit Vietnamese consumers.

We will keep a close eye to see if and when access to Facebook will be restored in Vietnam.  If you currently live in Vietnam, let us know.

Source: PC World Vietnam (In Vietnamese)


Addendum: Are our 2011 predictions slowly manifesting after all?  (Albeit different from how we imagined.)


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  1. Very promising indeed. However, it would be interesting to see if FB will submit to the same self-censorship provisions as other ISPs operating in Vietnam in order to get market share.

    FB advertised recently for a contract position to open shop in Vietnam.

    For FPT, a great way to gain access to foreign technology and a slice of the FB ad revenue.

    Still, my larger question is, how is the Middle East ‘Jasmine Revolution’ being reported in Vietnam? Can someone comment on the implications of FB (or other social media like OVN) facilitating personal freedom and exchange of info, perhaps fomenting a Jasmine Revolution in VN?

    Overly political, I know, but something the OVN community needs to discuss. The diaspora community is very active, via social networking, in what is going on in Syria, for example. Can only sit on the sidelines for so long.

  2. I live in Vietnam and it will be interesting to see when this happens. Most people here have access to FB as they are always ways to get around so the censorship never made sense to me. True, Vietnam has a communist government but is building its economy on capitalism. I won’t be surprised when Vietnam becomes one of the biggest economies in Asia in the next few decades. Go Vietnam!

    1. Baloney!

      I live in Vietnam also, and I have to find ways to get around the blocking of Facebook put up by the government. Search the internet for “Facebook blocked in Vietnam” and you will find many an article written on this subject, especially the interview done by CNN with the blogger Me Nam.

      Not in your lifetime or mine will we live to see Vietnam’s economy grow to become another Asia powerhouse like South Korea or Japan, given the anemic and perpetual corruption currently emanating in everybody’s life in Vietnam.

      One cannot become economically strong if he or she keeps operating in the red. Vietnam currency, the VND, is worthless since it isn’t backed up by the nation’s worth. Hard-earned currencies from exports and remittances from Viet Kieus cannot keep up with the outflow since everybody (foreign business) demands payments made in US dollars or Euros.

      The government divvies up and siphons off these foreign currencies to its corrupt officials’ overseas bank accounts, which puts a heavy strain on the rest of the population who needs them to buy raw materials or fertilizer or machinery or equipment to get products to the market.

      If the Vietnam economy is so hot as reported by the government for the last 10 years, why does one see able-bodied people lounge around in cafes, bars, eateries etc. at all hours in Vietnam ? 3 out of 4 business enterprises in Vietnam engage in food and entertainment: that’s definitely a sign of a parasitic economy, not a developing one.

      80% of the population live in the countryside, and their median income hasn’t risen since 1985 when the Renovation Project got into effect: income of less than 1 U.S. dollar a day.

      1. Mr Anoy-amus, you make some very compelling points. for years i have been sending USD to  my wifes relatives in VN. I pay extra to have the US funds payed out in VN as USD ….. not once has this accurred. The bank in VN (Hanoi) states that they have no USD to hand out .. VND or nothing …. i allways wondered where the USD were going. Corruption needs to end before true progress can begin.  I agree, to many able bodied people just drinking cofee and chain smoking … socialism will sap the work ethic right out of a man. Hopefully with better education, regulatuion and forign investment things will change for the better, in time … these people deserve a friggin break allready. Given the chance, they may develope into a peace loveing prosperous society …

  3. Nice to finally find a website that makes an effort to cover the Vietnam-Facebook issue on a consistent basis. I’ve been following this matter for well over a year, and it’s hard to get up-to-date information on the subject. One almost has to wonder if Facebook itself has even been aware of the block, as they’ve issued not a peep about it publicly, as far as I’m aware. (Of course, they may well have their reasons for that – ie, a wish to avoid ruffling certain feathers; and clearly, they may have been hard at work behind the scenes.)

    I must say that in 8 years of coming to Vietnam, I have been on the whole impressed with this country’s restraint in internet censorship, especially as contrasted it with its big neighbor to the north. Up until this Facebook silliness started, the only apparent block I ever saw was on Yahoo’s Geocities. (I can only guess that someone, somewhere on Geocities – a site now defunct, but which had allowed users to create their own, individual websites – said something that wasn’t much appreciated by the higher-ups in Vietnam, just as is apparently now the case with Facebook.)

    As an update, I am now in HCMC on 30 April 2011 and my ISP, Viettel, is still blocking Facebook. Interestingly, on some occasions, I do get the Facebook login screen, but when I attempt to log in, my browser, Google Chrome, comes back with a warning that the site that it’s about to send my credentials to appears to be not Facebook, but someone spoofing the Facebook site. Naturally, at that point, I accept Chrome’s suggestion that I decline to proceed.

    Anyway, it’s nice to finally see some good news on this subject. With the economic advantages – not just to FPT, but to the country’s economy as a whole – of allowing free access to Facebook, it is the right move. And it’s not just about economics: Vietnam’s standing in the eyes of the global community as a whole can only rise if it is seen as a nation that is unafraid of a free and open internet.

  4. … it seems “normal” Facebook access without slow proxies or VPN tunnels is available since yesterday in HCMC again. The mobile version (m.facebook.com) was running some weeks ago already …

    We hope the best and are waiting for McDonalds & Coke Zero too. 😉

  5. I live in Vietnam, Hoi An to be precise.  Noticed this morning that I could access my facebook account without having to first launch my proxy server program!  I can access from computers, iphones and ipods easily all day today! Woohoo! Whilst I could access it through my proxy server program it did tend to make things very slow.  Not anymore!

    1. PS…now just waiting for Harry Potter to be shown at cinemas and my teenager’s life will be complete 🙂

  6. Recently for the last few weeks facebook has been unblocked in Vietnam without any interruption and remained consistent.

  7. Hi all, I live in Hanoi, and to my great surprise, facebook is unblocked. As far as I know fairly recently. I have internet access through VNPT

  8. You wrote this in April. Its now October and I still can’t have straight forward access to Facebook. Of course I can circumvent the mysterious, ambiguous, assumed “block” using ULTRASURF or fooling with the IP settings.. but what a totally unnecessary pain in the neck it is!

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