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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