Municipal authorities in Can Tho, the largest city of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, have intervened to invalidate a decision by a lower-level agency that orders Party members to tell the government their use of social media as a way to monitor their online activity.
The decision was expected to be nullified on July 16, according to Tran Viet Truong, head of the Can Tho Party Committee’s propaganda department.
Party members in Cai Rang District of Can Tho were recently required to say officially whether they have used any social media services, and in many cases, to disclose what their accounts and the platforms’ names are.
The decision conformed to the guidelines and an internal document issued by the propaganda department of Cai Rang District’s Party Committee on June 29.
They were aimed at stepping up the monitoring of local Party members’ activity on social media, notably Facebook and Zalo – a Vietnamese mobile application for free calls and texting which passed the mark of 100 million users in May in a country of nearly 96 million people.
The document asked local Party members across the board to reveal social networking sites they have visited and their account names.
But in a statement to reporters, Tran Thanh Can, deputy secretary of the committee that introduced the document, contradicted it by saying that no such requirements on accounts and social media sites were made.
The purpose of listing Party members' with social media involvement, Can said, was to steer their social networking use towards ‘a common orientation.’
The list was expected to be handed to the higher-ranking authorities, he added.
Department head Truong said the Cai Rang District propaganda agency has gone too far, as the municipal propaganda department only wanted to warn its Party members against ‘wrong views’ in the social media space, not to collect their accounts.