Mark Zuckerberg is Welcome in Vietnam, Facebook is Not

Paul Lilly

Most people make it a point to avoid places they or their loved ones aren't welcome, so the fact that Mark Zuckerberg chose Vietnam as the destination for his holiday getaway indicates that perhaps the trip was at least partially diplomatic. Officially, Zuckerberg, along with his girlfriend and a few friends, spent time in Hanoi simply for pleasure and not for business, but there are plenty of other places he and his entourage could have visited, ones where his social networking site is welcome with open arms.

In Vietnam, local communist authorities often block Facebook, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal . Tech savvy citizens are able to get around the block, but for the average person -- and there 90 million people living in Vietnam -- Facebook is off limits, a policy that attracts criticism from the U.S. and other governments for stifling freedom of expression and making it unnecessarily difficult for local businesses to communicate with others around the world.

According to WSJ, diplomats in Hanoi say authorities are fearful that Facebook and other social networking sites could be used to organize protests. By visiting Hanoi and being seen riding a buffalo and a mountain bike, perhaps Zuckerberg's unofficial intention was to show that Facebook isn't a tool of disruption and something to be feared, but simply a social site run by a guy who isn't looking to rage against Vietnamese authorities. Or, as his public relations team insists, maybe it was strictly a personal visit.

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