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Hanoi authorities want to promote proper online ‘etiquette’

The capital city’s Department of Information and Communications has issued a document which says information that degrades reputation and dignity, incites violence, or otherwise negatively affects people are becoming increasingly apparent online.

It blames this on limited awareness that causes people to unwittingly spread “wrong, toxic” information on cyberspace.

“As such, it is vital that people be educated on the proper etiquette when online,” the document states.

Specifically, it says people should stop forming online groups to “badmouth” each other, stop using others’ personal data for commercial gain, verify credibility before spreading any information and denounce “culturally inappropriate” trends online.

Instead, residents should spread positive information about social activities to contribute to Hanoians’ image as a “civilized, elegant people,” the document states.

It also calls for Internet service providers and relevant authorities to be alerted when problematic information is discovered online.

Last week, Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications, said at a National Assembly session that the ministry has already set up a national center that can read, analyze, evaluate and categorize 100 million messages on social networks per day.

The move is a response to the spread of false information, culturally inappropriate images and fraudulent activities on the Internet and social networks that is growing globally, he said.

Around half Vietnam’s population get online. An April report by social media marketing and advertising agency We Are Social showed that Vietnamese are online seven hours a day and spend a daily average of 2.5 hours on social networks. Facebook and Google’s YouTube are the most accessed sites with user ratios of 61 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

Another survey by Vietnam’s Program for Internet and Society under Vietnam National University in Hanoi last year showed that 78 percent of more than 1,000 respondents said they had been victims of hate speech.

According to this survey, hate speech on social media in Vietnam was mostly defamation and libel, with 61.7 percent of respondents as victims, followed by slander with 46.6 percent, ethnic discrimination with 37 percent, gender discrimination with 29.3 percent, disability stigma with 21.7 percent and religious discrimination with 16 percent.

Minister Hung said the country would eventually need a tool to remove violating online content, persuade foreign social networks to comply with Vietnamese law and to punish people who upload false info online.

He said: “People cannot blindly trust everything they read.”