The Vietnam government will slap fines on social network users who slander or bad-mouth organisations and individuals online, officials confirmed on Friday. Under a new decree drafted by the Ministry of Information and Communications, netizens who provide false information; slander or smear the reputation of organisations; or honour and dignity of individuals will be fined to the tune of 30-50 million Vietnamese dong ($1,300-2,200), Xinhua news agency reported.
Fines of 20-30 million Vietnamese dong ($885-1,300) will be imposed on social network users who reveal secrets of other individuals or organisations without their consent; describe obscene acts, human killing or accidents in every detail; or disseminate superstition or information that is deemed inappropriate to Vietnam's customs and traditions. Those who use personal information and images of other people to create social network accounts for themselves will be fined 10-20 million Vietnamese dong ($442-885).
According to the ministry, regulations are necessary because social media is developing rapidly, and information on social networks is having increasingly bigger effects.
By the end of February, Vietnam had nearly 50 million internet users, or over 53 per cent of its total population. The country plans to increase the rate of internet users among its population to 80-90 per cent in the next few years. As of late February 2016, Vietnam had 35 million Facebook users, or one-third of the country's population, Facebook announced last year.
Facebook is the dominant social network in Vietnam; few local people use other social networks.