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Go-Viet blames bug for app’s censorship of East Vietnam Sea islands’ names

Go-Viet blames bug for app’s censorship of East Vietnam Sea islands’ names

Friday, November 22, 2019, 16:13 GMT+7
Go-Viet blames bug for app’s censorship of East Vietnam Sea islands’ names
The Go-Viet app on an Android smartphone displays the name ‘Hoang Sa’ correctly after a bug fix update on November 22, 2019. Photo: Duc Thien / Tuoi Tre

An app bug was responsible for the chat tool of ride-hail firm Go-Viet’s mobile app failing to properly display geographical names including Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly), two groups of islands in the East Vietnam Sea, a company representative said on Friday.

On Thursday, a number of Go-Viet customers reported that the names ‘Hoang Sa’ and ‘Truong Sa’ were automatically replaced with a string of asterisks when entered into the app’s integrated chat function.

Many streets in Vietnam are named after the country's archipelagoes, including two streets that run along both sides of the iconic Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe canal in Ho Chi Minh City.

In screenshots captured by a Go-Viet customer and published in Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper, the customer tried to confirm his address on Hoang Sa Street with a driver but his texts kept being replaced with asterisks every time.

A different screenshot published by Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborers) newspaper shows that the message only gets through uncensored when the sender adds meaningless spaces between letters of the name ‘Truong Sa,’ after multiple failed attempts at spelling the name correctly.

Screenshots of texts containing the name 'Hoang Sa' being replaced with asterisks in the chat tool of Go-Viet's mobile app. Photo: Thanh Nien / techbike.vn

Screenshots of texts containing the name 'Hoang Sa' being replaced with asterisks in the chat tool of Go-Viet's mobile app. Photo: Thanh Nien / techbike.vn

A Go-Viet representative said on Friday the replacement of such geographical names with asterisks was caused by bugs surfacing during a regular app update rolled out on November 20 and 21.

“The update errors do not carry any implication regarding Vietnam’s maritime and islands-related issues,” the representative said.

All geographical locations marked by Google Maps under the ‘landscape.natural’ tag, including many islands, rivers, and mountains, also encountered the same issue, according to Go-Viet.

“Customers experiencing such bugs on our mobile app will see the geographical names displaying correctly in a couple of days,” the representative said.

An error-fixing update has been rolled out for around 20 percent of Android users as of Friday morning, while the iOS bug fix will become available in 1-3 days, according to the firm.

Go-Viet, the Vietnamese version of Indonesian on-demand multi-service platform Gojek, was officially launched in Vietnam in August 2018.

In Vietnam, it currently offers the ride-hailing service Go-Bike, delivery service Go-Send, and food delivery service Go-Food.

The firm had about 100,000 drivers nationwide as of July 2019.

Its mobile app uses Google’s digital map platform Google Maps and cloud-storage service Google Cloud.

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