Up to Dh1 million fine for violating UAE social media laws: 5 rules you must know

Individuals must be careful not to violate the country's cybercrime regulations as federally decreed


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 24 Jul 2022, 10:58 AM

Last updated: Tue 6 Jun 2023, 12:05 PM

[Editor's note: This story was published in July 2022, but with the recent arrests of 5 Filipino expats over a TikTok video, Khaleej Times wants to inform UAE residents about the rules regarding the use of social media]

Question: I am new to the UAE and have heard about social media laws in this country. Can you explain the rules of posting on social media? I don't want to do anything illegal.

Response: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 on Combatting Rumours and Cybercrimes (the 'UAE Cybercrime Law') are applicable.

In the UAE, an individual needs to adhere to the rules and guidelines as advised by the local authorities and the provisions of UAE Cybercrime Law relating to posting any content on social media platforms.

In general, the UAE provides great opportunities for using social media platforms. However, pursuant to the UAE Cybercrime Law, an individual needs to be responsible while using the platforms. As such, you may follow a few basic social media rules in the UAE mentioned below:

•Refrain from making insulting or offensive posts which defame Islam or any other recognised religions. By Article 37 of the UAE Cybercrime Law, such crimes may attract imprisonment of up to seven years and penalties ranging from Dh250,000 to Dh1 million.

•Refrain from posting any content which is harmful to women or children, such as human trafficking, pornography, prostitution and acts against public morality. By Article 32 to Article 34 of the UAE Cybercrime law, such offences may attract imprisonment ranging from one to five years and penalties from Dh250,000 to Dh 1 million.

•Refrain from posting any content against the government or government departments, the ruling regime, symbols, political system of the UAE and any other countries. By provisions of Article 20 to Article 28 of the UAE Cybercrime Law, such offences are considered very serious.

•Refrain from posting photograph, videos or comments on the social media platforms which invade someone's privacy and personal life. Following Article 44 of the UAE Cybercrime Law such offences may attract imprisonment of at least six months and penalties from Dh150,000 to Dh500,000.

•Refrain from posting against culture and heritage of the UAE, rumours and false news. Don't disclose confidential matters related to government or criminal investigations, or advertisements which violate prevailing laws and public morals.

If you intend to be a social media influencer and accept paid advertisements, you should obtain a licence from the National Media Council or any other competent authority in the UAE.


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