Vietnam ascends global online civility ranking

By Nguyen Quy   February 22, 2021 | 06:17 pm PT
Vietnam ascends global online civility ranking
A man returning from the U.S. surfs the Internet on his iPad at a Covid-19 quarantine facility in HCMC, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Phuong.
Vietnamese netizens have become increasingly civil on social media, making the nation one of the world's biggest improvers in this year's rankings.

Vietnam ranked 24th out of 32 surveyed economies in the latest Digital Civility Index (DCI) collated by American tech giant Microsoft with an overall score of 72 percent, an improvement over the previous ranking's 78 percent.

A lower score indicates a lower exposure to online risks and a higher perceived level of online civility, said the report based on interviews of 16,000 adults and teens questioned across 32 economies, including 500 people in Vietnam.

Along with Vietnam, four other big improvers are Colombia, Chile, Peru and Turkey.

A total 36 percent of Vietnamese respondents fell victim to hoaxes, scams and fraud while 28 percent experienced hate speech and 16 percent witnessed discrimination.

Nearly 51 percent of Vietnamese netizens were involved in at least one bullying incident. In Vietnam, generation Y (commonly called millennials, born between 1981 and 1996) and generation Z (born after 1995) were hit hardest by online bullying, the report said.

Improved Vietnamese online civility was driven by teenagers who scored 69 percent as opposed to adults on 74 percent.

Forty-three percent of Vietnamese respondents said online civility improved during the Covid-19 pandemic, which some attributed to a greater sense of community in dealing with the crisis.

On the flip side, 18 percent said online civility grew worse during the outbreak since more false and misleading information was spread and people vented their frustrations online.

For the upcoming decade, Vietnamese respondents mostly called for better safety (65 percent), respect (62 percent), civility (35 percent) and well-being (21 percent), the report noted.

The Netherlands topped the online civility index, followed by Britain and the U.S.

According to official statistics, there are 64 million active social media users in Vietnam, or nearly two-thirds of the country’s population. Of them, six million were Facebook and Instagram users under the age of 18.

Vietnam’s Cybersecurity Law, which took effect earlier last year, bans internet users from humiliating and seriously offending the honor, prestige and dignity of other people or posting false and untruthful information that damages the legal rights and interests of organizations and individuals.

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