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Spreading and sharing false information on the internet

In the digital era of today, the Internet has become an indispensable part of our daily lives. It brings us a wealth of information and communication opportunities but also introduces new challenges, particularly the issue of spreading and sharing false information. The increasing prevalence of misinformation, rumors, and fake news on online platforms has led to serious consequences for individuals, society, and even the economy. In case you need advice, please contact Apolo Lawyers via email at or Hotline - (+84) 903 419 479 for the best advice and support.

1. Causes of spreading false information

There are many reasons behind the spread of false information on the Internet. One of the main reasons is the lack of verification before sharing. In this age of information explosion, users of the internet are frequently exposed to large volumes of data and news. However, not all information is verified or comes from reliable sources. Many people, due to lack of time or insufficient analytical skills, easily accept and share information without verifying its accuracy.

Another reason is personal motives and economic benefits. Some individuals or organizations may create false information to attract attention, increase website traffic, or earn money from advertisements. In some cases, fake information can be used to achieve political or social goals, divert public opinion, or cause panic within communities.

2. Consequences of spreading false information

Spreading false information can lead to severe consequences. First, it undermines public trust in reliable sources and mainstream media. When users cannot distinguish between accurate and misleading information, they may become skeptical and distrustful of all information sources, leading to a loss of trust in organizations and service providers.

Furthermore, misinformation can lead to dangerous or harmful behaviors. For example, false health information can cause people to use unsafe treatments or refuse necessary medical interventions. In a political context, fake information can increase social divisions, create political polarization, and encourage extremist behaviors.

Spreading and sharing false information on the internetSpreading and sharing false information on the internet

3. Measures to address the issue

To tackle the issue of spreading false information, there needs to be coordination between individuals, organizations, and governments. Firstly, raising awareness and educating users on how to verify information is crucial. Users should be equipped with skills to analyze and evaluate the sources of information and know how to check independent and reliable sources.

Platforms of social media and online services also play a significant role in controlling information. Many platforms have implemented tools to flag and reduce the spread of false information. For example, Facebook and Twitter have developed reporting and flagging systems for suspicious information and collaborate with organizations for fact-checking to verify the accuracy of posts and news.

Governments and regulatory agencies also need to play an active role in establishing and enforcing regulations on online information. Policies should be set to hold platforms of social media accountable for the content they distribute and encourage reporting and handling the spread of false information.

Finally, encouraging and supporting research on methods to detect and combat false information is also a critical step. This research can help develop new tools and technologies to identify and control fake information, thereby mitigating its negative impacts.

According to Decree 15/2020/ND-CP, the following acts related to spreading false information on the Internet are subject to penalties:

  • Providing false information: Including posting and sharing untrue, fabricated information that causes public confusion or affects the reputation of organizations or individuals.

  • Providing information that insults the reputation, honor, and dignity of organizations or individuals: These are acts of posting fabricated, defamatory, or insulting information about others on social media.

  • Providing information with content that propagates, incites violence, superstition, or reactionary content: These acts are also strictly prohibited and heavily penalized.

4.1 Administrative penalties

According to Article 101, Decree 15/2020/ND-CP, specific administrative penalties include:

  • Fines ranging from 10,000,000 VND to 20,000,000 VND: For acts of providing and sharing false, fabricated information that causes public confusion but does not reach the level of criminal liability.

  • Fines ranging from 20,000,000 VND to 30,000,000 VND: For acts of providing and sharing false information that insults the reputation, honor, and dignity of organizations or individuals but does not reach the level of criminal liability.

In addition to fines, violators must take remedial measures such as removing false information and correcting the information.

4.2 Criminal liability

In serious cases, the act of spreading false information may be subject to criminal liability under the Penal Code 2015 (amended and supplemented in 2017):

  • Article 156 on Defamation: Anyone who fabricates and spreads false information that they know is untrue, intending to insult the honor or cause harm to the legitimate rights and interests of others, can be sentenced to imprisonment for 3 months to 7 years.

  • Article 288 on the Crime of Illegally Using Information on Computer Networks or Telecommunications Networks: Anyone who uses computer networks, telecommunications networks, or electronic means to spread false information that causes serious consequences can be fined from 30,000,000 VND to 200,000,000 VND or sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months to 7 years.

Spreading and sharing false information on the internetSpreading and sharing false information on the internet

Vietnamese law has clear and strict regulations on administrative penalties for spreading false information on the Internet. These regulations aim not only to protect the rights and interests of individuals and organizations but also to ensure information security and social order in the context of rapid technological development. Adhering to and strictly complying with legal regulations is the responsibility of every citizen and organization to build a healthy, safe, and reliable online environment.

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