Gossips' tentacles crawl across the information superhighway

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A new entertainment website, Octopus Central, shows and tells all about the inner lives of Vietnamese celebrities


The website Octopus Central has all the latest on actress Hoang Thuy Linh whose leaked sex tape shot her to fame in 2007.

Have you ever wondered what's up with pop icon Ho Ngoc Ha's rich playboy lover? Are you inclined to ignore the war, poverty and greed destroying the soul of the planet, and instead browse the headlines about singer Lam Truong's broken marriage?

Then gossip website Tong dai Bach Tuoc (Octopus Central http://idol.tongdaibachtuoc.vn/) is for you.

For the cost of only a text message or short phone call, you can register for the site's services and keep up to date on all your favorite celebrities' thoughts on homosexuality, find out how to seduce a star by browsing their turn-ons and turn-offs, or find out which gay millionaires are trying to lay which famous singers.

The website also has all the latest on actress Hoang Thuy Linh, who's leaked sex tape shot her to fame in 2007. You can even find details about the rich land baron rumored to be her lover.

The website hosts hundreds of questions drafted as templates that users can chose from. Users can also submit their own questions to the website. Either way, after posting a question about a celebrity's private life online, or via text or phone, users only have to wait a day or two for a response, which often comes in the form of a voice recording of the celebrity answering a question on the user's topic.

Advertised as the real deal, not just a rumor mill, the Octopus has generated its own vast database by interviewing ten top celebrities and recording their answer to dozens of personal questions.

Most of the info on the website actually isn't that scandalous and pertains to tips on hair, beauty care, fashion trends, overcoming stress and troubleshooting life's problems.

Singers Hoang Thuy Linh, Dinh Manh Ninh and Quynh Nga, and actress La Thanh Huyen, are listed as the service's biggest stars.

But some celebrities are not happy about the development.

Singer Dinh Manh Ninh said that although he did answer for the Octopus, some of his private information on the site was not gleaned from those interviews.

Singers Khong Tu Quynh and Ngo Kien Huy have also tried to distance themselves from the site.

Singer Quang Ha said that he knew the info he provided to Octopus would be used on the site.

"But they did not tell me about their text message and telephone business," he complained.

Hoang Thuy Linh said she had in fact never been contacted by the site.

 "I do not know anything about this gossip service business," she said. "Nearly all the interviews of my career have been recorded. Maybe somebody has quoted some of my answers in previous articles to use them as parts of the website. I am really surprised at hearing about this stuff."

Hanoi pop star Minh Quang said the service was intruding on artists' personal lives and that he had never been contacted by the website.

 "When they want to use any information about our private lives, they have to have permission," he said. "We have the right to decide what goes public and what stays private. I have not given any interview or communication to the website."

But Nguyen Tuan Dung, media manager of the Octopus's mother company VNNplus Media Company, said the website benefits everyone involved and that all info on the site can be backed up with direct interviews his company conducted with the stars in question.

"All the artists with information available on the service were recorded at our company's recording studio and we have the recordings. They knew that their answers would be used for these purposes," said Dung.

He admitted no concrete contracts had been signed between VNNPlus and the artists, but he argued that each celebrity did sign away the rights to their answers before they recorded the interviews.

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