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Vietnam plans 24-hour takedown law for ‘illegal’ social media content: Sources

HANOI/SINGAPORE (REUTERS) – Vietnam is preparing new rules requiring social media companies to remove content they deem illegal within 24 hours, three people with direct knowledge of the matter have said.

Planned amendments to the current law will cement Vietnam, a US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) market for Facebook, as one of the world’s toughest regimes for social media companies. and strengthen the hand of the ruling Communist Party as it cracks down on “anti-state activity”.

The 24-hour deadline for removing “illegal content and services” will have no grace period, while active “illegal livestreams” must be blocked within three hours, the sources said. Companies that fail to meet the deadlines could see their platforms banned in the country, they added.

Social media companies have also been told that content that harms national security must be removed immediately, according to two of the people and a third source.

Currently, social media platforms often have a few days to process requests from the Vietnamese government, the sources said.

The amendments, which have not been made public, are expected to be signed by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh next month and implemented from July, five people said.

Sources who spoke to Reuters for this story declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said amendments to the law regarding online information are being considered by the government.

“Vietnam requires businesses to actively coordinate with the government to create a safe and healthy online environment, removing content that is inappropriate or contrary to Vietnam’s legal regulations and national traditions,” it said in a statement. sent by email.

Representatives for Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook, and Alphabet, which owns YouTube and Google, declined to comment. Twitter said it had no immediate comment.

TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, will continue to comply with applicable local laws to ensure TikTok remains a safe space for creative expression, its Vietnamese representative Nguyen Lam Thanh told Reuters, adding that it would remove content that infringes. platform guidelines.

Most governments do not have laws mandating the removal of content from social media companies, but Vietnam’s decision comes amid an escalating crackdown in some parts of the world against online content that has alarmed consumers. militants.

The Indonesian government is also preparing to impose a similar 24-hour deadline for government requests, sources told Reuters.

India requires government requests to be met within 36 hours.

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