Vietnam is going after anonymous social media accounts.
Social media users in Vietnam will soon be required to authenticate their identities, according to the government, in an effort to combat online scams.
The action is intended to prevent anyone from breaking the law by utilizing anonymous accounts.
Unverified accounts on both domestic and international social media platforms, such as Facebook, must comply with the new rules.
It is unclear how the new restrictions, which are anticipated to be implemented by the end of 2023, would be enforced.
According to official media, authorities would monitor and perhaps block anonymous accounts.
It’s the latest in a string of limitations put on Vietnamese social media users.
Last year, social media platforms were forced to remove fake news within 24 hours, rather than the prior 48 hours.
In 2022, laws requiring digital companies like Google and Facebook to retain customer data locally were also passed.
According to Human Rights Watch, this gives the government “greater ability to pressure companies and is likely to lead to violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and privacy.”
The new rules are part of the impending Telecommunications Law Amendment, which must be approved by MPs and is set to go into force by the end of 2023. The full story has yet to be exposed.
Currently, not all providers in Vietnam provide identification verification.
Individuals and organizations, however, must follow the new standards.
According to Nguyen Thanh Lam, deputy minister of information, while police can identify social media account holders who violate the law, they cannot be tracked down since they use cross-border applications.
While disinformation and escalating hate speech are genuine issues for governments in South East Asia, experts warn that governments, notably Vietnam’s, have utilized ambiguous definitions to gain greater control over the digital environment.