Vietnam Mandates Removal of ‘False’ Social Media Content Within 24 Hours

Vietnam Mandates Removal of ‘False’ Social Media Content Within 24 Hours
A stock photo of social media platform icons in a mobile device. (Pixabay/Pexels)
Aldgra Fredly

Vietnam has mandated the removal of “false” content from social media platforms within 24 hours, as opposed to the initial 48 hours, as the ruling communist party intensifies its crackdown on “anti-state” activity.

Vietnam’s Information and Communications Minister, Nguyen Manh Hung, said in parliament on Friday that the move was necessary because false news can be spread widely “if it is handled in a slow manner.”

Hung said that Vietnam’s penalties for disseminating false information were only one-tenth of those imposed by other Southeast Asian nations, though he did not elaborate on the new regulations.

“The ministry will propose to the government an increase in administrative fines to a level that is high enough to deter the public,” he said.

The new rules will enshrine Vietnam’s position as one of the world’s most tightly controlled regimes for social media firms and will strengthen the communist regime’s grip on social media platforms.

Lack of Freedom of Expression

Freedom of expression and civil society activism is “tightly restricted” in the communist-controlled country, according to the Freedom House, which ranked Vietnam as “not free” in its 2022 Freedom in the World report.

The U.S.-based organization said that Vietnam has further restricted internet freedom by introducing a draft law in July that would restrict live streaming and launching a national code of conduct for social media users.

“The authorities have increasingly cracked down on citizens’ use of social media and the internet to voice dissent and share uncensored information,” the report stated.

The country’s cybersecurity law requires companies like Facebook and Google to store information about users in Vietnam and allows the government to block access to content deemed dangerous to national security, it stated.

In April, Vietnamese reporter Nguyen Hoai Nam was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for “abusing democratic freedoms” through social media posts. He pleaded not guilty and demanded further investigation into his case.
Vietnamese independent journalist Le Van Dung was sentenced to five years in prison on March 23 after being charged with conducting propaganda against the communist regime through social media posts, though he refused to regard them as illegal acts.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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