Vietnam threatens to shut down Facebook: source

Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook in the country, if the social media giant refuses to bow to government pressure and censor more political content on its platform.

That's according to a senior official at the company, which has faced mounting pressure from governments over its content policies.

But it's also faced criticism from rights groups for being too compliant with government censorship requests.

Vietnam's ruling Communist Party retains tight control of the media in its country, despite opening up to more social change.

Facebook's local servers in Vietnam were taken offline early this year until it complied with the government's demands.

The official told Reuters the company complied with a government request in April to increase censorship of "anti-state" posts for some 60 million Vietnamese users.

It then asked the company to step up its restrictions again in August, which the official says Facebook refused.

Vietnam is a major market for Facebook, where it generates revenue amounting to nearly a billion dollars.

The platform is also a source of scrutiny for the Vietnamese government, as the country's main site for both e-commerce and expressions of political dissent.

Vietnam has tried to launch home-grown social media networks to compete with Facebook, with little success.

Amnesty International said the fact Facebook had not yet been banned despite defying the Vietnamese government's threats showed the company could do more to resist, adding that "Facebook are prioritising profits in Vietnam, and failing to respect human rights."

The country ranks fifth from the bottom in a global ranking of press freedom compiled by Reporters Without Borders.