The Rise of Professional Facebook Content Generators in Vietnam: A Fake News Campaign Against the Betibuti Founder

The Rise of Professional Facebook Content Generators in Vietnam: A Fake News Campaign Against the Betibuti Founder

Le Thu Mach (Monash University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8535-0.ch013


This case study is empirical research. It highlights the fact that the dynamic and complex Facebook content generators involve actively in the formulation and dissemination of fake news in Vietnam. Professional Facebook content generators include not only the paid online commentators, being hired by the government or business sector but also the professional journalists, who can earn for their living by promoting certain ideas and products on Facebook. As journalism functions as a tool for propaganda in Vietnam, even some governmental officers engage in the formulation of fake news, as long as the fake news serves the propaganda purposes. Through the analysis of the engagement of each group of Facebook content generators in fake news, this chapter contributes to the identification and elimination of fake news, and therefore, it is especially significant for journalists in reflexive truth-seeking practice.
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Background Context For The Rise Of Professional Facebook Content Generators

This section explores the rise of professional Facebook content generators in Vietnam from 2014 to 2019. It identifies the measles outbreak in April 2014 as the beginning of using Facebook for public-opinion expression and manipulation. Following this change in the media landscape, a shift has occurred among state-controlled journalists from publishing on mainstream media to publishing on Facebook. Notably, journalists stopped working for the state-run media house and started earning by posting advertorial contents on Facebook, marking the formation of a new media system on Facebook parallel to that of the mainstream media system. Besides journalists, paid online commentators are joining the network generating Facebook contents. Although posting on Facebook was becoming a highly organised profession, the law associated with social media had not yet sufficiently reacted until the legislative enactment of the Cyber Security Law in June 2018.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business-Based Commentator: A person who gets paid from social-media marketing service company to generate content on social media as requested by the clients of the company.

Social-Media Refuter Journalist: A journalist works for mainstream media and intentionally avoid using social media for professional purposes.

Paid Commentator: A person who gets paid to generate contents and interaction on social media.

Half-Truth: The truth elements marking parts of the news and often be used to deceive the audience that whole of the news is the truth.

Social-Media Influencer Journalist: A journalist who used to work for mainstream media before but no longer had a license to work in mainstream media anymore, but still earn great public attraction by publishing on social media.

Government-Based Commentator: A person who works for governmental organisation, maybe a doctor, a student, a scientist, etc., and generates content on social media as requested by government to protect governmental interests.

Hybrid-Media Producer Journalist: A journalist who is working full-time for mainstream media and at the same time earns money for publishing on social media.

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