Authorities in the central city of Da Nang fined three people a total of VND30 million (US$1,400) and issued warnings to four others for defaming local girls on Facebook, a prank that prompted one of the girls to attempt suicide.
The Da Nang Department of Information and Communication issued the penalties against the youngsters, aged 16-20, on Monday.
The local police department's internal affairs division (PA83) concluded that they had violated a government ban on using digital information to slander and defame others, Nguyen Chuong Duc, chief inspector of the communication department, told Thanh Nien last week.
According to PA83, one of the violators, a 16-year-old dropout, created the Facebook page, titled "The real face of Hot Teens in Da Nang City." The rest, who are high school and university students, either wrote posts or operated as administrators of the page.
Two local families had previously filed complaints with police, saying that the page had obscene lies about their daughters.
One of the victims, a high school girl identified only as P.U.N, attempted to kill herself by taking too many sleeping pills in early June, following posts accusing her of being a "playgirl" and exposing her body to other people.
The posts accused N.T.P.T, another girl, of taking loans out on her motorbike in order to go shopping for fancy things. The posts said she lied and said the bike was stolen and then only bought things that other people bought in order to impress them. One post also said she had run away from home with her boyfriend, insinuating that she was a "bad girl" that slept with her boyfriend before marriage.
The Facebook page was written as a "confession page," a popular trend among local youth.
At a "confession page," members submit their confessions, either about themselves or others, to the page's administrator mostly through a Google Doc without revealing their identities. The administrator then post the anonymous confessions on the Facebook page.
In the Da Nang case, confession posts targeted local teen girls and boys and named names.
The page got some 16,500 likes before it closed last month.
Last month an 18-year-old school girl in Hanoi killed herself by drinking pesticide after her male classmates doctored a photograph of her to make her look "improperly" attired and posted it on their shared Facebook page.
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