Southeast Asia

Vietnam Ramps up Crackdown on Social Media ‘False News’

Vietnam has tightened its regulations on “false” social media content which must now be taken down within 24 hours instead 48 hours, its government said on Friday.

“False news, if it is handled in a slow manner, will spread very widely,” Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung told parliament.

“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 stringently controlled countries for social media firms and will strengthen the ruling Communist Party’s hand as it cracks down on “anti-state” activity.

Vietnam’s Tough Stance

Most governments do not have laws imposing the taking down of content on social media firms, but Vietnam’s move comes amid intensifying crackdowns in some parts of the world on online content.

Critics have raised concerns the laws could hand the authorities more power to crack down on dissidents.

Reuters had previously reported government plans to bring in the new regulations that sensitive information had to be taken down within three hours, and limit accounts that are allowed to post news-related content.

According to Hung, current penalties in Vietnam for posting and spreading misinformation were only one-tenth of the level imposed by Southeast Asian peers.

  • Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon


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Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.

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