Two of the largest and most commonly used social media websites – Facebook and Instagram have faced the wrath of the government, in the wake of ongoing protests against environmental degradation.
It’s not the first time that the Southeast Asian country has slapped Facebook and Instagram with a ban. The ban has come as a surprise for 30 million native users, who have been using social media to raise their concerns about ‘decreasing number of fish in Vietnamese waters’. As a consequence, the percentage of VPN usage has increased during the last couple of days.
The move of banning social media websites has met with severe criticism from the environmental experts across the globe.
It is interesting to note that the number of dead fish has continued to increase in recent months, due to toxic industrial waste that is dumped in the waters. As the situation worsened, the public took to streets in protest against the so called environmental degradation, which has seen the population of hazardous algae blossom, in the wake of continuously piling stock of industrial waste.
The ‘I Choose Fish’ hashtag is trending on twitter as well. Images of protesters with placards reading ‘Justice 4 Fish’ have gone viral over the social media websites. The government, in the wake of ongoing protests, has decided to come up with its own page on social media, with ‘government information’ tag.
— Dan Vineberg (@danvineberg) May 1, 2016
As the situation rages on, the common people have now become inclined towards using VPN services. There is an unprecedented surge in VPN usage in the country.
According to Hola, an Israeli proxy service, both Facebook and Instagram were blocked on Sunday in Vietnam. Most of the internet users have downloaded Hola amid the backlash against the social media websites.
An app store optimization firm, Sensor Tower has also reported significant increase in number of mobile VPN service users, as the people now want to circumvent the blockage, so as to spread the word about the environmental concern facing the country.
It remains unclear though, how long the ban would last. Whether the ban on social media sites was aimed at curbing the protests, or it was a move to eradicate social media websites from the country.