Vietnamese Facebook users, advertisers and marketers were stunned after a number of Pages each with more than one million likes suddenly disappeared from the world’s largest social network on the weekend.
Users were unable to access Pages including the likes of Foody.vn, an online restaurant review site with more than three million likes, and Tieng Anh la chuyen nho (English is as easy as ABC), an English language page with 1.8 million likes, from Saturday.
Pages with smaller fan bases of a few hundred thousand likes were also inaccessible, apparently removed by Facebook.
While followers were sad to see their favorite pages disappear, advertisers and marketers were left perplexed as Facebook Pages with millions of likes are lucrative channels for digital marketing.
With Facebook giving no comment on the fate of the Pages, experts speculated that they had been removed for violating the social network’s copyright rules.
It is not uncommon for Vietnamese Facebook Pages to repost the content of others without giving them adequate credit, violating Facebook’s policy on copyright and intellectual property protection.
Others have said that the Pages might have been sanctioned for attracting ‘fake’ likes – likes from inactive Facebook accounts created only to ‘like’ Pages – or that the Pages promote ‘fake news,’ something Facebook is attempting to rid from its platform.
Nguyen Hong Phuc, a local Internet security expert, said on his own Facebook page that the administrators of those Pages may be to blame.
“If a personal user assigned as an administrator of a Page violates any Facebook rule, the social network will sanction that Page too,” Phuc wrote.
On Monday morning, some of the Pages including Foody.vn were accessible again, apparently after the Pages' owners successfully lodged an appeal to Facebook.