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Vietnam to probe TikTok over 'toxic' content

HANOI - Vietnam will probe TikTok over "toxic content" hosted by the hugely popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app, officials said Thursday.

The Vietnamese government has strict curbs on freedom of expression, often cracking down on government critics who find an audience on social media apps.

TikTok has an estimated 50 million users in Vietnam, according to data from research firm DataReporter cited by the government.

The app already faces growing pressure from Western governments over fears that user data could be used or abused by Chinese officials. It was fined in Britain this week and banned from official devices in Australia.

Head of Vietnam's Radio, TV and Electronic Information Le Quang Tu Do said the information department would organize an "inter-ministerial" inspection of the company in May.

"TikTok has no effective control measures over content which violates politics, against party and state, fake news, toxic content," Do told reporters.

The lack of control was "facilitating the dissemination of fake news, causing losses in economics and social instability", he said.

Do said the ministry asks "cross-border platforms to strictly follow Vietnamese laws".

TikTok was told by the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information in February that a government delegation would visit its Vietnam offices in the second quarter, it told Channel News Asia.

Its Chinese owners, Bytedance, did not immediately return AFP's request for comment.

Britain's data regulator said on Tuesday it had fined TikTok £12.7 million ($15.9 million) for allowing up to 1.4 million children under 13 to use the platform in violation of its own rules.

Australia banned the app from government devices following similar moves by France, the Netherlands and the European Commission. -- Agence France-Presse

Tags: Vietnam, tiktok