Facebook via SMS in Vietnam - Viettel

Submitted by tomo on December 8, 2012 - 8:51am

Viettel, Vietnam's military-owned telecom, has opened up direct Facebook integration via sms to Viettel mobile phone subscribers. This is an officially supported way for Vietnamese people to access Facebook on the go without a computer or smartphone. This is targeting Vietnamese people who mainly access the internet at internet cafes and so using this they won't need to hang around at cafes where they're charged hourly while they wait for someone to comment or like their status updates. This applies to a lot of Vietnamese folks and could lead to even faster adoption of Vietnam's #1 social network. What does that imply about any official government ban on Facebook?

This isn't the same as Facebook SIM (as mentioned on Twitter before about the Argentinian carrier creating a Facebook "app" that runs off a SIM card). It's a service you can sign up for as a daily (1000đ) or monthly (10000đ) package. Then you tie your Viettel account to your Facebook account (at which point the Vietnamese military has full access to your Facebook account). When you give that power over, then you can post on your wall, write comments, like, friend, follow (used to be called "subscribe"), poke, etc. but not upload or view cat or non-cat photos.

One of the main functions of this is that Facebook allows you to follow strangers just like on Twitter. Perhaps more striking is how Twitter started out in life: as a service to receive SMS updates whenever somebody you followed "tweeted" an update. Nowadays, nobody uses Twitter via SMS anymore, but many Twitter clones do follow the same format of limiting messages to 160 characters (an SMS limit) and sending SMS updates. With Facebook SMS, Facebook and Twitter have come full circle.

If you're a Viettel subscriber and want to use Facebook SMS then first register by sending "F" or "F1" to the number 9224 (you'll get 500 free SMSs to use with this service, registration is free until December 31, 2012).

Then send these SMSs to the same number, 9224:

1. Get help (huong dan).

Send "HD" to 9224.

2. Update your status.

Write any SMS message and send to 9224.

3. Follow a "friend".

Send "sub " or "sub ".

4. Unfollow or unfriend someone.

Send "unsub " or "unsub ".

4. Friend a "friend".

Send "add " or "add ".

5. Poke a friend.

Send "poke " or "poke ".

6. You can comment by replying to a status with your comment.

7. You can like a friend's status by sending "Like".

P.S. Zing also has SMS features now. And Mimo, like the original Twitter, allows you to follow your friends by receiving SMS notification too.

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Vietnamese Game of Feather Kick - "đá lông" (not verified)

What crazy sport this is!!! Locally known as "đá lông", which is kinda like badminton, cos it has a shuttle but is not played with rackets.
Basically you kick it or use other body parts.
Do check out the acrobatic abilities of the guy in the red shirt. He is freaking awesome.

spencer blank (not verified)

Hey very interesting blog!

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