FACEBOOK has removed the contested Paracel and Spratly Islands from a map of China after a request from the Vietnamese government.
According to VN Express, the Vietnam complained that a map used for Facebook’s advertising tool was incorrectly depicting the country’s sovereignty in the South China Sea, known locally as the East Sea.
By Monday afternoon the social media giant had completely removed the islands from Chinese territory on the map.
Vietnam claims both the sets of islands as its own, even though the Paracel Islands are occupied by China. Back in 1988 the two countries fought a naval battle at the Spratlys, which left 64 Vietnamese dead and the reef in Chinese hands.
Vietnam has emerged as the most vocal opponent of China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which more than US$3 trillion in cargo passes annually.
Beijing lays claim to most of the South China Sea, while Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also claim sections of the sea.
The Facebook incident caused anger across Vietnam, where public anti-Chinese sentiment is currently running high.
Recent rare displays of protest have opposed a new law which would allow Chinese companies 99-year leases in the Southeast Asian nation.
A spokesman from Vietnam’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information said that Facebook still needed to issue an official apology.
Facebook is by far the most popular social networking platform in the country of 93 million. The Vietnamese government has just passed a new law which requires internet companies like Facebook to store data locally and establish headquarters or representative offices there.