Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been a preferred choice of communication among the Vietnamese.
In a population of 93 million people, Facebook currently has 53 million users.
But where it once acted as a medium to express free speech, the case seems to be no longer when a draconian law imposed by the government requires Internet companies to scrub critical content and hand over user data if Vietnam’s Communist government demands it.
The Bill that came into effect on Jan 1 of this year has sparked outcry from activists who say it is a chokehold on free speech in a country where there is no independent press.
Now many are turning to Minds, a US-based open-source platform, fearing Facebook could be complying with the new rules.
Some activists say they migrated to Minds after content removal and abuse from pro-government netizens on Facebook.
Two editors’ Facebook accounts were temporarily blocked and The Vietnamese Facebook page, an activist site, can no longer use the “instant article” tool to post stories.
Minds is considered a safe and secure alternative, according to activist, Nguyen Chi Tuyen, though he says he will continue using Facebook and Twitter.
“It’s more anonymous and a secretive platform,” he said.
In less than a week, 100,000 new active users have registered in Vietnam where many of the users posts topics on politics and current affairs.