Social media mainstays face robust ad penalties

December 05, 2022 | 09:00
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Facebook, YouTube, and other violators of transnational advertising rules in Vietnam are expected to face stronger punishments under new rules.

At last week’s meeting on the management of online advertisements held by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Le Quang Tu Do, head of the ministry’s Department of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, said that foreign advertising service providers and overseas social media platforms have not complied with Vietnamese law.

“We have waited a long time for responsibility and self-awareness among them, but this has failed. We will therefore apply stronger rules to deal with violations,” Do said.

“Among them, YouTube and Facebook allow social media users to rampantly post illegal content and enable monetisation features that allow ads to be installed on those account pages. Technical tools to control ad content, and their placement, are not guaranteed or effective yet,” he added.

Social media mainstays face robust ad penalties
Technical tools to control advertising content on social media are not effective enough, say authorities, Photo: Shutterstock

The official elaborated that, except for some big brands such as Vinamilk and Nestlé asking ad agencies to apply strict rules with content filters, most entities just ask them to satisfy their requirements about viewers. Brands and advertising agencies are still subjective and prefer profit, thus advertise rampantly on websites, online channels, and individual accounts. “They do not even access, or fail to update regularly, the black list of violating ad units,” Do said.

In particular, the MIC will collaborate with relevant ministries, agencies, and localities to intensify inspection into advertising platforms, and make public a list of brands, advertising agencies, and advertising release platforms violating the rules; and recommend not cooperating with them.

“For foreign businesses who register no replacement of server in Vietnam, the MIC will work with mobile network operators to check and stop their operations if they are found with the replacement of server.” he elaborated. “We will also work on a more positive list of healthy content creators on Vietnam’s internet to enable brands and advertising agencies to give a priority.”

The announcement of stronger regulations by the MIC is an alarm bell for brands, prompting them to reconsider how they protect brand safety and to respect Vietnamese rules.

In September 2021, Decree No.70/2021/ND-CP came into effect, amending some regulations in Decree No.181/2013/ND-CP implementing the details of the Law on Advertising, with the MIC taking up stricter rules in an attempt to reduce violations.

According to the department, a number of violations are still being detected. The MIC has recently inspected at least 15 organisations and individuals carrying out advertising activities and found violations. At the same time, it inspected six advertising service businesses in Vietnam. Among the six, only one set filtering tools to prevent advertisements with malicious content. Worse still, just nine foreign advertising service providers have carried out registration with the MIC. Companies such as Meta, Amazon, LinkedIn, and others have yet made registration.

According to the ministry, it found many advertisements include toxic content such as those against the Party and the state, inaccurate information, pornography, and more besides.

Nguyen Thu Giang, deputy head of the Vietnam Advertising Association, which represents around 600 companies, said, “Many people continue to post toxic advertising content on social networks and we hope the MIC creates strong measures to deal with the situation. This is the viewpoint of powerful brands.”

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The Vietnamese government’s new initiative on cross-border advertisement on digital platforms like YouTube, Google, and Facebook is deemed a step up from previous legislation, particularly regarding censorship and tax obligations.

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To enforce more rigorous control of cross-border advertising activities, the Vietnamese government issued Decree No.70/2021/ND-CP dated July 20, amending and supplementing provisions of Decree No.181/2013/ND-CP dated 2013, elaborating on some articles of the Law on Advertising. Decree 70 will take effect on September 15, 2021.

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To enforce more rigorous control of cross-border advertising activities, the Vietnamese government issued Decree No.70/2021/ND-CP on July, which took effect on September 15. Thai Gia Han, junior associate at Indochine Counsel, pores over the new conditions applicable to digital advertising in Vietnam and how these impact those who provide cross-border advertising services.

By Bich Thuy

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