Vietnam tightens administration to reduce harmful effects of social networks

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The popularity of social networks to the community has both negative and positive impacts, especially during the social distance period when people have to use the Internet to update information around them. Using stricter policies and regulations, the Government is trying to minimize these drawbacks to provide a healthier virtual environment for its citizens.

Vietnam tightens administration to reduce harmful effects of social networks ảnh 1 The fake news about dead bodies due to Covid-19 in Ho Chi Minh City, being widely spread in the middle of July


Statistics from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) reveal that till the end of this June, there were around 65 million Facebook users, 60 million Youtube subscribers, and 20 million TikTok accounts coming from Vietnam.

Sadly, in the last few years, these multi-national social networks have not fully complied with the Vietnamese law. Various kinds of cyber crimes have appeared here, ranging from fake news to online scams, severely affecting a large number of Internet users.

Highly aware of that, MIC has directed functional agencies to increase their monitoring of the virtual environment and to timely impose punishments to violators.

More importantly, in June, it introduced the Code of Conduct on Social Networks. Simultaneously, it cooperated with related ministries and agencies to request all multi-national virtual service providers to remove all false information, fake news, information violating Vietnamese laws; to ask Facebook, Google to impose stricter punishments to accounts releasing those harmful news pieces.

Since there are certain differences regarding legal, political, cultural matters, the Government is actively working with the above organizations to address current issues so that all requests can be done.

Meanwhile, MIC has submitted to the Government a draft decree to adjust and add more content to Decree No.72/2013/ND-CP on the management, provision, and use of Internet services and Online Information as well as Decree No.27/2018/ND-CP on the amendments to Decree No.72/2013/ND-CP.

This draft decree commands that multi-national information service providers must observe all Vietnamese laws. State administration agencies have the right to implement measures to stop activities of: providing information which violates the Vietnamese laws; not collaborating with the Government to prevent or remove illegal news.

Any websites or content service provision apps with over 100,000 visits a month must perform the following duties: report their operations to MIC, cooperate with MIC to punish news providers breaking the Vietnamese laws.

Telecoms enterprises must install necessary hardware to stop the spread of illegal news to Vietnamese users. Ministries, agencies, and the localities are responsible for identifying the correct field of the infringing content to prepare a report to MIC so that this ministry can ask related multi-national businesses to remove that harmful content.

Multi-national social networks have a duty to receive and handle complaints from their users, practising a temporarily locking status to accounts of violating content within 24 hours obtaining the appropriate complaint from any individuals or organizations whose legal rights are affected by that content. Those social networks must comply with regulations on copyright with the press when publishing or distributing journalistic works by Vietnamese press agencies.

Multi-national social networks must ask its channels, accounts having over 10,000 followers to notify MIC. Only channels, accounts approved by MIC can provide livestream services or income-generating services.

Telecoms businesses and enterprises renting out storage space for social network data must carry out measures to stop any content violating the Vietnamese laws, be it self-detected or requested by MIC within 3 hours of receiving the notice.

It is expected that these strict measures are able to erase fake news or illegal content having existed on multi-national social networks like Facebook, YouTube – Google for many years in Vietnam and bring about a healthier virtual environment for all users in the country.

By Tran Luu – Translated by Huong Vuong

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