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​Facebook updates map to remove Vietnamese islands from China’s territory

Tuesday, July 03, 2018, 10:33 GMT+7

A map provided by the ad manager tool of Facebook no longer shows Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands in the East Vietnam Sea as parts of China after the social media platform was made aware of the serious error.

Le Quang Tu Do, deputy director of Vietnam’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI), said on Monday afternoon the U.S. tech giant had complied with the authority’s request to stop showing the groups of islands as parts of China on its map.

A test by Tuoi Tre News on Tuesday found that the social media had indeed updated its map to remove the archipelagoes from Chinese territory.

Earlier, users in Vietnam discovered that a map in Facebook’s ad manager tool had been showing Truong Sa and Hoang Sa, over which Vietnam exercises its sovereignty, as parts of China.

Facebook allows Page owners to promote their posts to a highly targeted audience through its Boost Post feature.

The ad manager tool enables Page owners to choose the age groups and geographical locations of the audience for their paid content.

Until Monday morning, when ‘China’ was selected as the target location, the archipelagoes became highlighted, which was not the case when users switched the location to ‘Vietnam’.

A digital map on Facebook wrongly identifies the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagoes as Chinese territories in this screen grab taken on the morning of July 2, 2018.
A digital map on Facebook wrongly identifies the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagoes as Chinese territories in this screen grab taken on the morning of July 2, 2018.

Vietnam asserts continuous and indisputable sovereignty over both groups of islands, while China has been condemned for its use of force to occupy Hoang Sa in 1974 and several shoals in Truong Sa in 1988.

In a previous statement, Facebook said the mistake was purely technical and was not politically motivated.

The social media platform is the next popular Internet service to get into hot water for wrongly identifying the Vietnamese maritime territories as China’s.

In 2016, Google also caused a stir among Vietnamese Internet users by labeling the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagoes as parts of China on its online maps, a mistake the tech giant has since corrected.

Around 53 million Vietnamese people, or over half of the Southeast Asian country’s population, use Facebook, making it the social media site’s seventh-biggest market as of 2017.

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Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News


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