Social Media Influencers and Digital Media Regulation in Vietnam


In 2021, a famous Vietnamese businesswoman hosted a three-hour long Facebook livestream, in which she named and shamed celebrities for their controversial public behaviours. This formed part of a regular pattern of personal attacks, in which she weaponised livestreaming to denounce media and charity organisations in front of huge online audiences. This case marked a turning point in Vietnam, forcing the government to contend with growing political activity in the online environment, and prompting new digital media regulation.

In this episode, Dr Jonathon Hutchinson joins Dr Natali Pearson to discuss this case and other examples of online socio-political activism in Vietnam, reflecting on the tension between social media influencing and digital media regulation, and highlighting its potential positive and negative effects.

About Jonathon Hutchinson:

Dr Jonathon Hutchinson is a Senior Lecturer in Online Communication and Media at the University of Sydney. He is a Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Online News and Media Pluralism, and is also a Chief Investigator on the eSafety Commission Research project, Emerging online safety issue: co-creating social media education with young people. His research explores cultural production, public service media, cultural intermediation, everyday social media, automated media, and algorithms in media. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Policy & Internet journal and the Treasurer for the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association. Dr Hutchinson is on the Board of Directors for the Wholistic World Innovation Trophy as part of the Diplomatic World Institute and is an active and regular contributor to the media. He is an award-winning author with articles in a number of national and international Scimago Q1 journals, government submissions, and his book, Cultural Intermediaries: Audience Participation and Media Organisations (2017), is published through Palgrave Macmillan.

For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website:

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Natali Pearson

Dr Natali Pearson is Curriculum Coordinator at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, a university-wide multidisciplinary center at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the protection, management and interpretation of underwater cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.

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