EXCLUSIVE Vietnam prepares rules to limit posting information on social media accounts – sources

SINGAPORE/HANOI, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Vietnam is preparing new rules to limit social media accounts that can post news-related content, three people familiar with the matter said, as authorities tighten control over sources of information and information in the country.

The rules, which are expected to be announced by the end of the year and the details of which are yet to be determined, would establish a legal basis to control the dissemination of information on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube while imposing a significant moderation burden. to platform providers, two of the sources. added.

The sources asked not to be identified as discussions of the new rules remain confidential.

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Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications and Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“The government wants to fix what it sees as social media news-ization,” a source close to the talks said. “News-lisation”, or báo hoá, is a term used by authorities to describe the deception of users into believing that social media accounts are authorized news outlets.

Government officials have held confidential meetings with popular social media and internet companies to brief them on the types of accounts that will be allowed to post news content under the new rules, the sources said.

Authorities could order social media companies to ban accounts that violate these rules, they said.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party already maintains strict media censorship and tolerates little dissent, with one of the world’s strictest internet regimes and national guidelines on social media behavior.

Two sources with direct knowledge told Reuters that more rules on internet and social media platforms would be introduced between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the start of 2023.

As young, tech-savvy Vietnamese increasingly turn to social media for information, these platforms have become the target of government efforts to restrict the flow of information from unauthorized sources.

Vietnam is one of the top 10 global markets for Facebook with 60-70 million users, according to 2021 data, and sources familiar with the matter said it generates around $1 billion in annual revenue for Facebook. company, surpassing France.

YouTube has 60 million users in Vietnam and TikTok has 20 million, according to 2021 government estimates, although Twitter remains a relatively small player.

Meta Platforms Inc (META.O), which owns Facebook, and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) declined to comment. Google and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube did not respond to requests for comment. TikTok said in a statement that it deals with content violations based on applicable laws and within its guidelines, but did not comment on pending Vietnamese regulations.

Vietnam’s government in July adopted a set of non-binding guidelines on what counts as news outlets, including criteria for distinguishing between “real” and “fake” news outlets, warning that some social networks include accounts that mislead users into thinking they are newspapers.

These guidelines should be incorporated into the new rules, which will be binding.

Authorities should also implement new rules that would require social media platforms to immediately remove content deemed harmful to national security and remove illegal content within 24 hours, sources familiar with the matter said.

Sources told Reuters in April that the new rules, which were originally scheduled for July, reflected the government’s dissatisfaction with withdrawal rates from social media platforms. Read more

This will be done through amendments to the country’s main internet law.

Vietnam also issued a new regulation in August, due to take effect from October, that will require tech companies to store user data locally and set up local offices.

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Reporting by Fanny Potkin in Singapore and Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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