The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has opened for public opinion the draft decree to replace Decree 72/2013 on managing, providing and using internet services.

One of the noteworthy points of the draft is that social networks are required to authenticate users via mobile phone subscribers in Vietnam when registering an account.

This is not a new regulation as most other countries have been using different measures to authenticate users on social networks. When users are anonymous when participating in debates, they tend not to be careful in making comments or condemning other people. They believe that will be safe, because no one knows them and therefore they don’t have to take responsibility for their words or the impact on others who are criticized.

China has asked social network users to register their social media accounts in their real names since 2003. The request was aimed at helping fight cybercrime and protect adolescents.

In August 2009, large information portals such as Sina, NetEase and Sohu began asking new users to provide their real names and identification codes. And now, all users of social network platforms in China have to register their accounts with real names, ID codes granted by the government, and mobile phone numbers.

In Vietnam, domestic social networks and cross-border social networks all ask users to have their personal information authenticated when registering with their email, phone number or identity card.

According to MIC, the most common choice is authentication with email and mobile phone number.

As for cross-border social networks, YouTube allows authentication with mobile phone numbers. Twitter, email, and Facebook allow one of the two options.

As for TikTok, users register accounts and authenticate with either another social network account, their email, or their phone number.

Vu Ngoc Son from National Cybersecurity Technology Corporation said that authentication is necessary for a healthy and civilized environment. 

Nguyen Minh Duc, co-founder and CEO of CyRadar, thinks that requiring social networks, including Facebook, YouTube and TikTok, to authenticate users’ accounts is a necessity. When using real accounts and real names, users must be responsible for their statements.

In addition, authentication will make an important contribution to limiting cyber fraud that is so rampant today. Appropriate agencies and platforms can easily detect and handle violators quickly.

Quyen Pham, Vice President of the Vietnam Digital Content Creation Alliance, said that authentication is necessary to restrict negative phenomena on social networks such as fraud and toxic content that violate cultural standards and customs. 

From the perspective of economic development, account identification will also reduce digital copyright infringement.

Those who do business on social networks applaud the plan. Viet Nguyen, an experienced online trader, said Vietnam was late requiring authentication, as this has been applied in other countries for many years.

In other countries, he said, those who do business on online platforms have to provide information about their mobile phone numbers associated with other documents such as identity cards. This helps minimize fraud on online platforms.

Nguyen Ngoc Long, a social media expert, noted that transparency is the most important factor to ease problems on social networks. 

Chau Muoi, a KOL (key opinion leader) reviewing household appliances on TikTok, said once the regulation takes effect, this will prevent scammers to use ‘bogus’ nicknames to go seeding, and hidden individuals to comment with insulting and harsh words. Meanwhile, the authentication will in no way affect users.

“You just need to take one more operation and this won’t take much of your time,” she said.

Le My