Vietnam’s ‘homespun Facebook’ swamped after launch.
Gapo on Monday (Jul 22) became the latest social media site to launch in Vietnam and hopes to sign up 20 million users by 2021.
But hours after its launch Monday evening the site ran into technical difficulties amid an onslaught of new users trying to sign up.
Some users were blocked from signing up, while others could not use the app’s functions.
“There are errors that only happen when the system reaches a certain level,” Gapo’s co-founder Duong Vi Khoa said in a Facebook post.
The Gapo app allows users to create personal profiles, upload videos and photos and post comments on a “news feed” style site.
Despite the parallels with Facebook, Khoa said Gapo has “no intention to compete with any social network. We encourage everybody to use several social networks.”
The firm has secured US$21 million in funding from its parent company, risk investment fund G-Capital, according to state media.
Vietnam also has its own domestic chat app Zalo, which launched in 2012 and is billed as an alternative to the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp.
According to a report on Channel News Asia, Facebook and YouTube have already removed thousands of clips and posts from their sites – even before the cyber law’s formal implementation – citing compliance with domestic laws.
Social media sites have become a lifeline for activists in Vietnam, where all independent media is banned and blogs are routinely removed.
The current government in charge since 2016 has been accused of waging a crackdown against critics, with at least 128 currently behind bars, according to Amnesty International.
More than 10 per cent of those in jail were convicted for comments on Facebook, Amnesty said.