Some Facebookers said that when they used social networks to question or criticize the quality of VinFast’s cars, Facebook has “silenced” them, locking their accounts for thirty days.
“Borrow the wind to break bamboo shoots”
Specifically, a female driver in Ho Chi Minh City, on February 26, shared with Radio Free Asia that, a status she wrote with the title “dirty rescue media campaign” in which she likened the advocates for a product of VinFast brand, was warned by Facebook and her Facebook account was locked immediately.
This female driver did not want to name because she was afraid that the authorities would make it difficult, so we temporarily called her Thanh and changed her voice when she shared about the VinFast issue:
“Most of the people attacking me on Facebook on my page are employees of Vin. I went to their Facebook and saw that they took pictures and advertised for Vin. They are agents of Vin, employees of Vin. I call them ‘Vin’ stupid supporters. Facebook my writings violated, probably because of that word.”
After her FB account was locked, Ms. Thanh immediately complained to Facebook when they answered. Ms. Thanh said:
“They report that I violate community standards and I say I disagree. About 10 minutes later, they checked and answered, exactly this article violates the community standards so they locked the account within 30 days.”
Another Facebooker with the same situation as Ms. Thanh is Bui Van Thuan. Mr. Thuan on February 26 also shared with us via the following message:
“No status related to VinFast has been reported. But it was reported a long time ago that the content is completely unrelated to VinFast. However, I suspect that this is the employment and impact of VinGroup. There are two reasons that make me suspect: The people locked up for 30 days are mostly hot Facebookers like Hoang Dung, Bui Thanh Hieu, Nguyen Lan Thang, and me. And all of those accounts reported enthusiastically and quickly about VinFast cars that were “collapsed” (broken front-wheel system).
Facebooker Bui Van Thuan said that his account was restricted because he “touched” Vingroup.
The statuses that are considered by Facebook to violate community standards have appeared (written) for a long time, why are they not “punished” at the time of writing but have to wait until the scandalous cases of VinFast are reported?
In addition, VinGroup has a “media army,” the elite, and netizens call them ” Vin’s propagandists.” This force is very powerful, often called jokingly as “Vin public opinion shapers.” This force just needs to report (report) that accounts “defaming” Vin will be demolished. The story of Vin “silencing” the critics is a fact that has been going on for many years.
Radio Free Asia has contacted Facebook to ask about the reasons for restricting the accounts of Facebookers posting about VinFast but has not received a reply. We will post a Facebook response on this matter as soon as we receive a response.
Cloaked or public?
Meanwhile, due to frustration with the way Facebook blocked her account, Ms. Thanh cited to us the reason why she posted a status about VinFast’s car products:
“Before I posted that link, it actually spread widely and it was identified by many brothers at the scene and even the Nghe An television newspaper also identified. When I posted it on about 19:00, that was when Nghe An TV removed all those articles at once.”
According to Ms. Thanh, on February 22, she posted a video provided by a netizen about a broken VinFast car on Ben Thuy 1 bridge. Before posting, she verified the event with witnesses and even the local media, but after that, this video was also allegedly violated.
To prove the information she was saying was true, Ms. Thanh added:
“Currently only Vin can contact the drivers (of the Vin car having crashes). I asked all the community brothers that they all knew these people, but they all refused to contact us. The problem of the car accident that all drivers refuse, raises a very big question among us. Honestly, it is normal to have a car fault, a technical problem. Even world-famous car manufacturers have fatal mistakes. It’s so popular that it’s not uncommon. But here, the demand, the transparency of the information, and the exact reason are what the driver community really wants to know. Sharing it is a constructive together thing. When being transparent, it will make the driver community feel secure, but have a new option for themselves, a new car, not that they learn to boycott.”
According to Ms. Thanh’s share, she and other drivers want VinFast representatives to adequately explain the past “incidents“? Is it due to the quality of VinFast’s car or other impacts that cause the car to break, as some recent articles explain for VinFast?
Regarding this matter, we also contacted VinFast via email to hear official information from representatives of this car company, but we did not receive any response.
Need for transparency …
For Ms. Thanh, if VinFast is transparent, responsible, accountable, and able to answer customer problems, Vietnamese people, especially car enthusiasts, are willing to respond to VinFast’s products.
“VinFast has hit on the mentality, ‘proud of Vietnam, the car of the Vietnamese people’,” here the Vietnamese people also have the right to ask them to be transparent about quality, to contribute to the voice of construction together. Here, the VinFast critic community is not a probe to want to do any harm to VinFast, but to come together to come up with a product that meets the standards of Vietnamese pride.”
And Facebooker Bui Van Thuan said that linking commercial products with patriotism is a “shitty” job:
“Attach profitable commercial products with patriotism. That is cunningness. Vingroup’s projects are mostly plundering people’s land. Or shake hands with top officials to deprive public land, take illegal profits and create a distorted business environment and real estate bubble. That is harming the people, harming genuine and kind businesses.
For the reasons above, I posted articles about the faulty VinFast car to warn of the bogus “patriotism, pride, arrogance” that was being taken advantage of and profiteering. Second, Vin must take responsibility for its products and customers, not just threaten, gag, or collude with the regime to turn into a mafia-regime entity as Vin does.”
Also on February 26, RFA had a conversation with Mr. Le Van Triet, former Minister of Trade, to hear him comment on the automotive technology industry in Vietnam, specifically the product line of Vingroup, he said:
“I have heard many people say, not one or two people say, the VinFast cars are sold at high prices, but it is not guaranteed, because it is buying a German assembly line that people have abandoned for a long time, buying components and other old things of countries, including Chinese parts and then assembled in Dinh Vu, Hai Phong. The price is very high, the problem is considered as a luxury car. I also heard it does not run on the road, running at normal speed, it heats up. Running at high speed could not stand it.
I think that in order to form industry and produce an automobile, it must go through something very elaborate, not three flashes of lightning that jump out, say to create a new Vietnam’s automobile industry. Saying like that is not understanding anything about the industry at all.”
The VinFast factory was started construction in September 2017 and completed within 21 months with an expected capacity for the two stated phases of 500,000 vehicles/year. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc personally attended the inauguration of this factory in Hai Phong in June 2019. Speaking at the factory inauguration ceremony, Mr. Phuc said: “The speed in building the factory VinFast cars show a great desire and burn enthusiasm among the people who have agreed to create a project that can be called a miracle of the automobile industry in Vietnam as well as in the world.”