A controversial law banning social media from discussing current affairs comes into effect in Vietnam, restricting users to sharing personal information only.
The Decree 72, says blogs and social websites should not be used to share news articles, but only personal information. The new rules also address individual Internet users, who will be required to use their real names online.
The law also requires foreign internet companies to keep their local servers inside Vietnam. It has been criticised by internet companies and human rights groups, as well as the US government.
Vietnam is a one-party communist state and the authorities maintain a tight grip on the media. Vietnam has more than 30 million internet users.
The new law, known as Decree 72 specifies that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook should only be used “to provide and exchange personal information”. If adopted, the draft decree, released Friday by the Ministry of Information and Communications, would require foreign businesses to cooperate with Vietnamese authorities in removing information from their sites.
Google and Facebook, which have millions of users each in Vietnam, would be among the biggest companies affected, and would be required to establish representative offices in Vietnam.
Under the rules, foreign companies that provide “online social networking platforms” in Vietnam must “make pledges in writing” to follow local censorship laws and remove information, including those that “is against the Vietnamese government, damage[s] social and national security [or] promote[s] violence.”