Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has now asked the Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Ministry of Public Security, to seriously monitor and control all forms of negative and hateful content being indiscriminately uploaded on social media websites. The Prime Minister feels that it is now imperative to clean up the internet of trashy and distorted content that is only damaging the social structure.
Whether we like or dislike social media, we have to admit that it has become a powerful tool of communication and information sharing. However, its increasing use among all segments of society has created a means of influence that does not always have a positive outcome. Information can or is often distorted, and misconceptions can be created in the minds of people, which are not always beneficial for society in general.
Highly popular and influential sites such as Facebook and YouTube are now providing both useful and trashy content. Less and less discrimination is being made to clarify type of content and as access to such sites is open to all, there is constant threat of any unpleasant content being accessed by the younger and most easily influenced group of people. Now even YouTube and Facebook are admitting that they can no longer control or edit all the content being uploaded on their sites.
Good content vs Trash
There are two ways of making money on social networking sites. One is based on goodwill and the other is based purely on uploading trashy content that is harmful and often disturbing. Uploading good and useful content requires talent, planning and a desire for a positive response from viewers. This is difficult to do and requires effort, whereas uploading any trash for sadistic reasons is easy to do, and quickly gains a lot of viewership. Many people are only centered on making money, any which way, and enjoy uploading disgusting and trashy content to garner viewer attention faster and thereby earn quick money.
Initially the uploading of trashy content on YouTube started with gangster thriller movies. Amateurs, as well as celebrated actors, have been investing in this lucrative segment of entertainment. Many gangster movies have been produced to cater to a wide ranging audience. Movies such as, Chết Thì Chịu (Fight till Death), Ông Trùm (The Tycoon), Thập Tam Muội (The 13th Sister), Người Của Giang Hồ (A Gangster) and Đại Ca Đi Học (My Boss My Hero), have all drawn huge crowds. However, fiction movies are still less attractive than real life stories. That has led to the birth of several actor personalities called ‘Net Gangsters’, such as Dương Minh Tuyền, Huấn Hoa Hồng, Khá Bảnh, Quang Rambo and Đường Nhuệ. They do not only show unsightly tattoos all over their bodies but also portray sassy and uncultured behavior that young people imitate in real life. However, some of these ‘Net Gangsters’ are also creative, artistic and portray romance like professional actors and singers.
The internet is providing an equal opportunity to everyone, no matter what age group or where they live. Therefore, quiet rural countryside areas may suddenly see a boom in ‘YouTube stars’. In some cases, an entire family can become part of this growing culture. However, it is to be seen if simple villagers can generate catchy and interesting ideas to generate money via this media. Nowadays, several advertising companies are offering advice and solutions on how best to use the internet. Some good examples of such online businesses are the channels Bà Tân Vlog and Hưng Vlog.
Trash garners viewership
Recently many new channels are competing with each other to upload explicit and trash content to increase viewership and a lot of this content is simply going out of control. Videos that garner millions of views contain rude and crude images like the torturing of pets or slaughter of wild animals. To put it simply, the weirder the content the more exciting it is to viewers. A video of a person eating a kilogram of chilies is less exciting than a video of a person chewing up a basket of uncooked sweet potatoes. Even a video of a girl teasing a dog, causing it to chase her round and round could be as hot as a video of a young man swallowing rice while doing a push-up and singing the song ‘Đắp Mộ Cuộc Tình’ (Burying a Love Affair). Such trash content accompanied by weird eccentricities is intended to feed the idiocentric side of viewers.
The means of making money on YouTube is always controlled by the digital platform, while making money on Facebook involves uploading cunning content to attract attention. Though the transactions are said to be "supported" by Facebook, any business activities of those accounts are out of Facebook control. There have been complaints about dealers selling poor quality products on Facebook, but the problem cannot be resolved. Most of the items bought and sold on Facebook through livestream advertisements include glasses, clothes, honey and medicines. Sellers boast that they have good quality and authentic products, but buyers suffer losses after they pay huge sums for useless and fake products. Many leftovers and poor quality items are advertised on Facebook as good quality imported products.
However, the most terrible thing on Facebook are the images of sexy salesgirls. Underwear salesgirls wearing sexy clothes are hardly acceptable, and worse still, rice salesgirls selling rice by wear bikinis is close to ridiculous. On some livestream shows, the salesgirls even look just like they are in a porn movie.
Trash content on social networking sites seems to be out of YouTube and Facebook control. The feedback or complaints from social media users have not been satisfactorily dealt with by YouTube and Facebook. This is because YouTube and Facebook get some shares of the profits from such trashy stuff. YouTube and Facebook always take advantage of accounts with large number of followers and insert their own ads in there. More seriously, such accounts with trashy content are given priority and listed as ‘trending’ on social media.
The trash being uploaded on social media is providing the younger generation with a wrong concept of social structure, behavior and of the general community. Becoming famous or notorious on social networking sites is always a way to earn real cash. Any individual may claim to be a ‘content producer’, and may use all kinds of tricks to make money. A nasty music channel may have followers in the thousands which only leads to a degenerate culture. Calling on such ‘content producers’ on social media to use decent content is an impossible mission.
Even some well-known personalities have been involved in this trashy business, so it is not fair to blame other jobless people. Also, advertising companies are encouraging trash content in order to enjoy benefits indirectly. A game show is elaborately edited before it is broadcast on TV, but the organization that has the copyrights puts an unedited version online, with obscene and provocative language to attract a huge number of viewers.