Vietnam introduces national code of conduct for social media

A man uses an iPad at a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2018. REUTERS / Kham / File Photo

HANOI, June 18 (Reuters) – Vietnam on Friday introduced national social media behavior guidelines that encourage people to post positive content about the Southeast Asian country and require state employees to report “conflicting information” to their superiors.

The code prohibits posts that violate the law and “affect the interests of the state” and applies to state organizations, social media companies, and all of their users in Vietnam.

Social media users are encouraged to promote the beauty of Vietnam’s landscapes, people and culture, and spread good stories about good people,” read the code, which was included in a ministry decision. de l’Information and dated June 17.

It was not clear to what extent the decision was legally binding, or how it would be implemented.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party tolerates little criticism, maintains tight control over the media, and has in recent years presided over an intensified crackdown on dissidents and activists, some of whom are serving long prison sentences for Facebook posts ( FB.O) and Google (GOOGL. O) YouTube.

In November last year, Reuters exclusively reported that Vietnamese authorities threatened to shut down Facebook if the social media giant did not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content on the platform.

Vietnam is a major market for Facebook, which serves around 60 million users in the country and generates revenues of nearly $ 1 billion, according to people familiar with the numbers.

The new code requires social media providers in Vietnam to “treat users in accordance with Vietnamese law” when authorities ask them to remove content from their platforms.

It encourages social media users to create accounts using their real identities, share information from official sources, and avoid posting content that violates the law, contains foul language, or advertises illegal services.

In January, Vietnamese social media users used fake weather reports and football scores as a creative way to discuss the Communist Party leadership’s feuds after an official ban on speculation ahead of a Party convention.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen and James Pearson Editing by Ed Davies

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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