Oct 09, 2019 / 16:33

Air quality app is back for users in Vietnam after "concerted attack"

The Hanoitimes - AirVisual has decided to unblock users in Vietnam, so that they can download the application again yesterday evening.

After two days of restricting users in Vietnam, air quality application AirVisual is back for them to download on October 8 night, local media reported.

Independent online air quality index monitor AirVisual said on
October 7 that it was under “coordinated attack” to discredit the company after its data showed Hanoi has at times topped its list of 90 major polluted cities.

“AirVisual has received abusive and threatening messages posted on Facebook and on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store,” it said in a statement on Monday, explaining why the AirVisual apps and Facebook page were not accessible in Vietnam.
A scene of Hanoi city from above after rain. Photo: Hung Nam
A scene of Hanoi city from above after rain. Photo: Hung Nam
The attack came after Vietnamese Facebook user Vu Khac Ngoc, an online chemistry teacher whose had more than 300,000 followers, said that AirVisual was manipulating its data in order to sell air purifiers made by its parent company, and urged people to boycott the application.

However, Ngoc later admitted that he had made a mistake because he did not understand AirVisual’s mechanism, and apologized to the people who developed the app.

AirVisual said it worked with Apple, Google and Facebook to confirm that it has been unfairly attacked, and to make the AirVisual app available again for users in Vietnam.

AirVisual is an application that measures air pollution with indicators in different levels. AirVisual said its data has helped raise awareness of air quality issues in Vietnam, but this also made it the target of a campaign to discredit the company.

The Hanoi government last week blamed the pollution on scarce rainfall and farmers burning rice straws after the harvest. Coal is also one of the causes since it is widely used for power generation in the country.

The rain these days in Hanoi has helped reduce the capital city’s air pollution index significantly.

The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecast said rain could occur until the weekend. The rainfall has reduced dust concentration in Hanoi’s air. Heavy rainfall will also wash dust away, thus reducing pollution level in the capital city.