Facebook likes causing social unrest in Vietnam over dare posts

Hanoi,Nov5:A social media trend promising dangerous stunts in exchange for Facebook likes is causing alarm in Vietnam, and concerns about cyberbullying, as Pham Lan Phuong of BBC Vietnamese explains.

How far would you go for a million Facebook likes?

For one young man in Ho Chi Minh City, the answer is a serious injury, possibly death. He has promised to jump off the fourth floor of a tower block if that many people “like” his pledge to do so.

The incident is just one of many linked to a viral trend of #vietnamnoilalam, or “Young Vietnamese will deliver what they promise”.

Facebook post of the man who attempted to self immolate

Viral videos later showed the man, in his 20s, setting fire to his coat and immediately jumping into the water.

Days later, the same man later promised to stab himself, getting 88,000 likes immediately after the announcement.

He posted a video showing that he had stabbed himself in the arm with a knife. He gained 79,000 followers from the incidents.

Screenshot of the man stabbing his armImage copyrightFACEBOOK
Image captionThe man who stabbed himself in the arm with a knife could be a victim of digital bullies

Then in early October, a 13-year-old girl posted that she would “burn the school” if she reached 1,000 likes. She reached that within two days.

In a clip posted on Facebook, which went viral, she was seen sprinkling gasoline on the gate and chairs in front of a room at a school.

A crowd watching her immediately dispersed as fire caught on to her legs. She suffered burns to her legs and was later treated at the local hospital.

The case is still being investigated by police, while the school principal told media outlets he had advised students not to post such statuses and taught them how to use Facebook properly.

Police official Do Canh Thin, deputy director of the Centre of Research and Criminology Investigation, called this phenomenon an “unhealthy trend”, saying it could lead to “deviant, delusion, and folly”.

“This phenomenon is concerning,” he told Dan Tri newspaper.

“Such actions to find fame at any price have spread so dramatically amongst young teenagers. A lack of action could push them into crime and felony if there is no effective way to stop them.”