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Vietnam introduces nationwide code of conduct for social media

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

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

The code prohibits contributions that are against the law and “prejudice the interests of the state” and apply to government organizations, social media companies and all of their users in Vietnam.

“Social media users are encouraged to promote the beauty of the countryside, people and culture of Vietnam and to spread good stories about good people,” reads the code contained in a June 17 decision by the Ministry of Information .

It was not clear to what extent the decision was legally binding or how it should be enforced.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party is low on criticism, maintains tight control over the media, and in recent years has led increased crackdown on dissidents and activists, some of whom are serving long prison sentences for posting on Facebook (FB.O) and Google (GoogL) . O) YouTube.

Last November, Reuters reported exclusively that the Vietnamese authorities had threatened to shut down Facebook if the social media giant did not give in to government pressure to censor more local political content on the platform.

Vietnam is a major market for Facebook, serving around 60 million users in the country and generating nearly $ 1 billion in revenue, according to sources familiar with the numbers.

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

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

In January, Vietnamese social media users used fake weather reports and soccer results as a creative tool to discuss the communist party leadership’s scramble after an official ban on speculation before a party conference.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen and James Pearson Editing by Ed Davies

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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