Vietnam to tackle false advertising on Facebook, YouTube

By Staff reporters   November 4, 2022 | 01:46 am PT
Vietnam to tackle false advertising on Facebook, YouTube
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung speaks to lawmakers at a National Assembly session on November 4, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Thang
Vietnam is set to clamp down on false advertising on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, said Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung.

The appearance of unwanted ads is very popular on cross-border platforms, and it is difficult for Vietnamese authorities to detect these ads as they are personalized to each user, he told lawmakers Friday.

He was responding to a question of a legislator, Huynh Thi Phuc from the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, who wanted to know what the ministry’s solution was in dealing with offensive ads on social media.

There are also promotions of products and services that seem unregulated, she added.

Another lawmaker, Trinh Xuan An from Dong Nai Province, said that many fake watch ads pop up from time to time, such as a VND20 million ($800) Patek Philippe product. This brand typically charges at least $20,000 for a watch.

Hung said that recently the ministry has reviewed a number of these ads and required 2,000 ads for medicines and functional foods to be taken down from YouTube. The ministry is still working on a complete legal framework to deal with these violations.

Some companies have also been editing newspaper and broadcast publications and turning them into ads, which is a violation of the law, Hung said, adding that his ministry is collecting more evidence to cooperate with other ministries to punish such cases.

Lawmakers also expressed concern about citizens’ data being leaked. One of them, Trinh Lam Sinh, said that many people claim to have received phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be authorities saying they have violated some laws and must submit a fine via bank transfer.

"How can bad people know the phone number, work address and titles of citizens? Personal details are somehow being leaked."

Minister Hung said that some companies and organizations have been careless in collecting and storing personal details and that hackers took advantage of this to steal valuable data.

The Ministry of Public Security estimates that around 1,300 gigabytes worth of personal details have been leaked, equating to billions of personal information, he said.

Another reason is citizens have been neglectful in providing personal details and have yet to understand the importance of protecting their own details.

Hung said that his ministry blocks around 30,000-40,000 spam calls every month, and network providers have so far disconnected 22 million SIM cards which do not have adequate user information.

The information ministry has issued a handbook on data safety to guide people on keeping their details safe. It has also built a database of leaked information on which citizens can search among 120 million leaks to see if their information has been compromised and take necessary action.

The ministry also suggests that government organizations and companies work with telecommunications companies to have their organization’s name displayed on an incoming call so residents can distinguish them from potential prank calls, which only show phone numbers, Hung said.

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