2019 年 2 巻 p. 1-14
This paper analyzes the core essences of social media in Vietnam in the era of Facebook prominence, from 2013 to the establishment of the Cyber Security Law in June 2018. With the growth of social media, unprecedented opposition forces have emerged on social media and challenged the political structures of the single-party country. This paper juxtaposes social media and journalism in Vietnamese political and cultural contexts. First, it indicates a sharp contrast between social media and journalism in six perspectives: function, content, the concept of freedom, content generators, legal framework, and cost. Second, it discusses the differences between traditional Vietnamese social power structures and social media, focusing on the characteristics of religions in Vietnam, the Power Distance Index, and the theories of high and low-context communication. The paper concludes that the essences of social media undermine the existent structures of journalism and social power by creating a space for public criticism and activism to challenge the government. Many opposition groups have been formed and institutionalized on social media, resulting in pluralism in Vietnamese politics and society. The analysis of Tôi và sứ quán (Embassies and Me) Facebook Page provides examples to clarify the differences between social media, and journalism and social power structures in Vietnam, as well as the institutionalization of the opposition groups on Facebook.