1. Overview

Recently, on June 17, 2021, the Ministry of Information and Communications, based on the proposal of the Director of the Department of Radio, Television and Electronic Information, issued a Code of Conducts for Social networks attached with the Decision No. 874/QD-BTTTT. This Code of Conducts on Social networks (Code of Conducts) together with the Law on Cybersecurity 2018 would contribute to an increasing of State intervention into the use of social networks by Vietnamese people, aiming to create a clean and effective social network space, minimize frauds and other illegal acts as well as to promote the propagation of good civilized and cultural values.

2. Notable points of the Code of Conducts:

2.1, The Code of Conducts is applied to 03 groups of subjects: (i) State agencies, cadres, civil servants, public employees, employees in state agencies using social networks (State employees) ( ii) Other organizations and individuals using social networks; (Organizations and individuals) (iii) Social network service providers in Vietnam (Service providers). Meanwhile in particular, the rules applicable to Organizations and individuals are the minimum requirements that are applied to the remaining two groups of subjects.

2.2. Encourage the use of social networks to propagate and promote the country, people and culture of Vietnam, to share positive information, good examples, good deeds. With the ability to spread quickly due to the easy access and sharing of information on social sites, the State aims to take advantage of this pros to promote national cultural values as well as the people and the country of Vietnam.

2.3. The Code of Conducts guides users of social networks not to post any contents that violate the law, negate fine customs, and/or affect the order and safety of the society. This rule is established on the basis of inheriting the Law on Cybersecurity 2018.

Although the Code of Conducts does not refer or specify penalties for its rule violations, the Cybersecurity Law and other legal documents have guidelines on the form and level of penalties applied to some corresponding violations . For example, Article 101 of Decree 15/2020/ND-CP on Penalties for administrative violations against regulations on postal services stipulates a remedy of VND10,000,000 to VND20,000,000 dong for making use of social networks in an attempt to provide and share fake information, false information, distort or slander; provide and share information promoting evil customs, superstitions; the information which meticulously describes the action of slashing, murder, accident and horror.

2.4. All group of subjects are encouraged to use their full real names of individuals, organizations or agencies to register with the Service providers to authenticate their nicknames, website addresses, and contact persons when participating in social networks. If the lost of control over a network account in some way happens , the account owner should promptly notify the Service provider or the authorities so as to minimize the use of the social network account on illegal purposes.

2.5. For Service providers: Publicly issue measures to detect, notify and coordinate with authorities to handle, prevent and remove information contents that disobey the copyright provisions or laws. When receiving a notice requesting the removal of copyright-infringing or law-breaking information from competent authorities, the Service provider shall coordinate with organizations and individuals to handle it in accordance with Vietnamese law.

In addition, the Service Provider, with the ability to easily access and collect users’ personal information, must comply with the respecting of the user’s rights to information protection, hence, they shall not collect users’ information and provide information of service users to any third parties without the consent of the information holders .

3. Comments on the Code of Conducts on social networks

3.1. The Code of Conducts should concretize information about the competent authority who is responsible for controlling social networking platforms, and the agency cooperating with the Service Provider which is, who is in their turn, responsible for solving problems arising from social network for users.

3.2. The Code of Conducts will not be highly enforceable if it is not issued with an appropriate punishment for infringements. Therefore, it is necessary to work out corresponding penalties for violations of the Code of conducts and r add them to the legal documents citing penalties for administrative violations.

3.3. The Code of Conducts should emphasize the minimum age required to start using a social network, in addition to the Terms of service provided by the Service Providers.

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