PANO - In modern life, social networks as a civilized cyber product bring much benefit to people. However, without due attention, many people may unintentionally disseminate false information, let out state secret, harm the community, and even support hostile forces in carrying out their anti-Party and State plots.

In a recent interview conducted by reporters of the People’s Army Newspaper, Dr. Le Van Thanh, Party Secretary, Director of the Hanoi Open University, believed that faculty staff and students should be further oriented, in face of the “matrix information” on social networks. Without knowing the true colour of the information shared on social networks, youths may “get lost” and fall prey to false information, and then they would be sharing or disseminating it unintentionally.

Lieutenant Colonel Uong Thien Hoang from the Faculty of Military Arts History (Political Academy - Ministry of National Defence) also expressed concern over the fact that there are now reputable cadres, teachers, scientists, writers and artists who use social networks to spread false and distorted information. And quite a good number of people often trust them and share the information to friends via social networks.

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It is also easy for users of social networks to make mistakes when engaging themselves in social criticism. For example, while the whole country was celebrating the 40th anniversary of South Liberation and National Reunification, a journalist working at a press agency of the Youth Union recently published articles and poems distorting national history and requesting a "historical revision drive" on his Facebook page.

In fact, there have been regrettable cases of legal violations occurring in using social networks. A typical example is when a group of ethnic minority youths in Gia Lai province was incited by foreign reactionary forces via Facebook to launch propaganda for “De Ga Protestant State.”

Many websites share links to reactionary pages, causing complicated consequences, unintentionally supporting wrongful actions of the hostile force. According to the Hanoi Department of Police, more than 70% of the activities advocating and promoting “self-evolution and self-transformation” are conducted via the internet, mostly via Facebook and blogs.

Although Facebook is considered the largest social network in the world, it is still hard to access in many countries such as Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc. In Vietnam, the Party and State have always respected human rights, including people's fair need to join social networks. According to figures of Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications, there are about 30 million internet users, over 100 million mobile subscribers, and about 25 million Facebookers.

According to experts, measures should be taken to better manage social networks. On this issue, Dr. Nguyen Cong Dung, permanent Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Vietnam Communist Party's Online Newspaper, referred to the experience of countries in the world such as Russia. In 2013, “Facebook is required by the Russian State to remove ‘prohibited information’."

As for Vietnam, Decree 72/2013/ND-CP of the Government dated July 15th 2013 and Circular 09/2014/BTTTT of the Ministry of Information and Communications issued on August 19th 2014 provide detailed regulations on the management, provision and use of information from websites and social networks. In the two documents, many activities in using social networks are prohibited. They are to use the internet and online information to fight against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, cause harm to national security, social order and safety, the great national unity, etc. And just a few people thoroughly grasp these regulations when using social network, resulting in unintentional violations. This is the issue that must be addressed in the time to come.

For troops of the armed forces, joining social networks is not prohibited as in many other militaries around the world. However, the National Defence Ministry has also outlined specific regulations. Accordingly, servicemen are not allowed to appear or register in the social networks as uniform people; publish or post any information related to activities of army units, the number of troops, weapons and equipment, organizational structure and combat operations of units, etc. Troops are not allowed to use the working places' internet access or working computers or any IT equipment of their units to connect social networks.

Social networks provide interactive communities, but information and relations on the networks are difficult to verify and control. Thus, users need to stay sound in mind, cautious and vigilant in screening information. For each individual, it is required that unverified and unverifiable information from websites and social networks should not be shared and reshared. Each person needs to screen the information for themselves because social networks are not part of the mainstream media. And users must be legally responsible for the information they share.

As Lenin once said, no enemy, no matter how powerful, can defeat the communists, except for the communists themselves when they fail to fix their own mistakes. The Resolution of the 4th Plenum (XI Tenure) also stressed that “Self-evolution and self-transformation” within the Party should be actively criticized and prevented.” The users of social networks, therefore, should be warned and corrected over their unsound use of the services in the coming time.

Written by Nguyen Van Minh

Translated by Huu Duong