40 Instagram accounts shut for promoting fake goods in Dubai

The Department of Economic Development warned traders against using social networking sites for promoting counterfeit products.

By Salah Al Deberky/staff Reporter

Published: Sun 21 Jun 2015, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:49 PM

Dubai - The Department of Economic Development — Dubai (DED) has ordered the closure of 40 Instagram accounts for promoting duplicate goods. This is in addition to the closure order of 490 websites that were found selling duplicate goods since January this year.

The DED warned traders against using social networking sites for promoting counterfeit products, stressing that the emirate has a zero tolerance policy towards infringement of intellectual property rights.

The department said a number of people have been identified for setting up accounts on Instagram for showcasing counterfeit products in coordination with unscrupulous traders. These account holders are not the owners of the duplicate goods, but promoters or brokers of such products.

“These accounts had more than 500,000 followers, who communicated with the traders via the administrator of the accounts,” said Ibrahim Behzad, Director of Intellectual Property Protection Section at the DED. “Account owners left a Blackberry pin number or a request for communication via WhatsApp phone number. The details of delivery and payment were given through these instant messaging services.”

A specialised ‘Electronic Protection Unit’ was recently established under the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Division of the DED. Behzad said the main duty of this unit is monitoring the Internet — particularly the social media — for websites or accounts promoting counterfeit products.

It is this unit which detected violations of intellectual property rights by the 40 Instagram accounts. “The watchdog unit monitored the accounts that were promoting duplicates of branded products like bags, perfumes, cosmetics, clothes and footwear,” he said.

He said the unit is in touch with the management of Instagram in association with owners of trade brands so as to combat the use of the social networking channel to promote fake goods.

Behzad called on consumers to report trademark violations via its Ahlan Dubai service on 600-545-555 or via its Twitter handle @dubai_consumers.

“The DED investigates complaints and reports regarding the promotion of duplicate products, and conducts field visits to verify their authenticity before taking punitive measures,” he said.


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