Facebook looks to grow Vietnam presence

Facebook says it wants to grow its presence in communist Vietnam, despite concerns that foreign diplomats and others have raised about access to the site. In a job posting on its website, the world’s most popular social networking site said it is seeking a manager for policy and growth in the country.

Observers said Vietnam began a more aggressive campaign to control cyberspace when it allegedly began blocking Facebook almost a year ago. Users still have difficulty logging on through the site’s homepage, but many have found other ways to access it. These restrictions, as well as on news media, led Western donors late last year to say Vietnam’s actions threatened its rapid economic progress.

Facebook’s job posting says it is seeking someone fluent in English and Vietnamese, and who is comfortable “in ambiguous situations”. The 12-month contract position, based in Hanoi, calls for someone with “experience in government relations work”.

None of this is unusual, according to US-based Facebook.

“We often hire temporary contractors in different countries, including India, Russia and Brazil, to help Facebook and Facebook Platform grow in new regions, even if we don’t have offices there,” a Facebook spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Vietnam’s internet growth is among the world’s fastest, and users number almost 24-million or about 28 percent of the population, according to a government spokeswoman who has called concerns over free expression groundless.

In May the government launched a pilot version of its own social networking site, go.vn, calling it the country’s biggest-ever IT project. — AFP



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