5 Social Media Laws in the UAE
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute as legal advice (I'm not a lawyer). If you want specific details and updates on these laws, its always best to consult a professional.
Social Media Laws in the UAE
I'm so over people saying they had no idea about these laws. Surely when you come to a new country, especially in the Middle East - and you're from a different cultural background, you should educate yourself and what is and isn’t allowed? Most of the laws should be common sense so if you're not a troll, a bully or out to annoy and defame people then you should have nothing to worry about. However if you're not 100% sure about what is and isn't allowed or what might happen if you cross the line then read on.
Do not post pictures or film people without their permission.
Want to post an instastory of a stranger doing their thing at gym? Maybe someone you know had an awkward moment and you just happend to catch it on film. Hitting that share button at their expense might be accepted in your home country however in the UAE it’s not allowed. At the end of the day, it’s all about being responsible and treating people with respect. Especially if you already know that the person featured in the content would be uncomfortable with the picture or have an issue with what you want to post. Its called respecting people's privacy. If you break this law you risk prison of at least 6 months and a fine of not less than AED 150 000 according to Article 21 of the cyber crimes law. There's some additional information about posting pictures of women without their consent here.
Do not post people's private or confidential information.
This should be obvious but in case you weren't aware, you shouldn't post people's confidential information online. This includes ranting about employers by the way. No matter what company you're working for anywhere in the world it’s considered bad form to share private info. Its the same here but with legal consequences like this situation. The best option if you're having an issue at work or feel like you're being treated unfairly is to go directly to the Ministry of Labour. They are super helpful and may even compensate for emotional distress on top of a settlement if your complaint is valid. Breaking this law could have you facing imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED 250 000 and AED 1.5 million so rather handle it the professional way.
Social media influencers need licenses to operate.
It’s a fairly recent law which came into effect this year. People who want to be social media influencers must obtain a license to do so. The law was brought into effect to encourage responsible social media activity such as following the rules like the ones in this article and not attempting hanging off buildings like glamour model Viki Odintcova found out in Dubai earlier this year. It also ensures that if someone is being paid to endorse a product or service that its in line with certain guidelines. Influencer licenses cost around AED 15 000 but if you already have a large following and are signed to a social media agency, then you can do it through them as well. There is quite a bit of information surrounding this so I will be dedicating a more detailed post on my personal process of getting licensed.
Posting content that is offensive to other Monostheistic religions.
Monotheistic religions refer to "the belief in only one God" for example Islam and Christianity. Posting anything that is offensive especially exhibiting things like nudity, pornography and debauchery goes against these values and is not allowed. In other words, have respect for other people's religions. Its that simple. If not, you could face imprisonment and a fine starting at AED 250 000 and not exceeding AED 500 000 as stated in article 17. On a side note, promoting any form of racism, hatred or riots can also land you a fine of between AED 500 000 to AED 1.5 Million according to Article 24.
If you're keen for more info on these and other laws check out this link.
Did any of the laws surprise you or did you already know them all? Let me know in the comments.
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11/20/2018 02:07:54 am
These are insightful. In fact, laws that provide protection to one's privacy is good. It's my first time to know about the law that needed be accomplished by social influencers. Thanks for sharing this with us!
11/20/2018 07:33:54 am
That's crazy that you need a license to be a social media influencer. The other laws are pretty much common sense.
the UAE is definitely stricter with these rules than in the US. I'm a small time influencer who doesn't have a license for it, but I can see how having one might seem more legit. A lot of profiles I follow don't disclose whether something is a #ad or #sponsored so it's hard to tell whether or not people have been paid to promote a product/brand or not
11/20/2018 10:25:02 am
Very informative post.. thanks for educating me about Such laws from UAE .. Now I understand why my friends from UAE are more careful regarding their social media profiles.
11/20/2018 11:05:20 am
This is all super interesting. I can see where it is important to have these laws. Thanks for sharing!
11/20/2018 12:15:24 pm
I didn't know much about this. It's good to keep rules in mind when you go to other areas.
11/20/2018 12:24:24 pm
This is good to know. Laws are different all over the world.
11/20/2018 12:58:23 pm
I didn't know that in UAE you need licenses to operate the social media! These are great to know!
11/20/2018 09:48:20 pm
Influencers need license ?!? Wow. That’s first I have heard
Neil Alvin Nicerio
11/21/2018 02:42:25 am
Nice. This is an educational article. A learned something new. Thank you.
11/21/2018 06:21:40 am
Why am I not surprised. For goodness sake they always have rules for everything. One way not to get into trouble in the UAE is this : keep in mind that a no big deal in America and Europe, are quite a big deal in the UAE. If you have this at heart, you most likely will not get in trouble with them
11/21/2018 10:39:40 am
Being from the US some of these laws seem restrictive but I can see some slight reasoning behind it. It is good to know nevertheless.
11/21/2018 11:01:29 am
There are so many rules and regulations, I think it's great that people have to have liscenses.
11/21/2018 12:34:16 pm
I think having laws around social media is a great idea. Too many people post whatever they want with no repercussions! Good info!
11/21/2018 01:42:47 pm
This is definitely a really informative and insightful post about the social media laws - helps understand UAE social media scene better.
11/21/2018 06:48:43 pm
Interesting rules - some I have never heard of! Thank you for the information!
11/22/2018 10:52:39 am
Very informative. Certainly, the UAE is strict when it comes to enforcement.
11/22/2018 11:16:07 am
This is so informative & interesting. These laws actually control quite a lot what goes on social media of any person in UAE.
11/24/2018 11:12:37 am
License to be a social media influencer? That's pretty crazy! Never heard of these rule before
11/24/2018 07:21:02 pm
Do not post pictures or film people without their permission. - I definitely am all for this. I am an amateur photographer but somehow I only take beautiful photos of sceneries. I am too hesitant to take photos of people doing their daily tasks because I feel that I am intruding their privacy. However, it cannot be helped that some subjects are too worth the trouble of breaking such privacy.
11/29/2018 02:01:25 am
I'm a bit surprised about the social media influencer license! I am so intrigued. I'm looking forward to your next post about this.
7/25/2019 02:12:19 am
Such a great article about social media laws in uae. Everyone should follow this blog.
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