UAE launches campaign to fight illegal drug promotion on social media

Ministers, leaders call on residents to report malicious messages and refrain from sharing these such content

by

Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Wed 17 May 2023, 2:18 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 May 2023, 3:31 PM

The UAE has launched a comprehensive online campaign to combat the growing issue of illegal drug promotion on social media platforms.

Leading the "Join Us to Stop It” initiative, Lt-Gen Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, shared a video on his official Twitter account highlighting the gravity of the situation and emphasising the importance of safeguarding families and the UAE community.


The video shows how illegal drug offers are flooding individual WhatsApp accounts, and how important it is to take swift and collective action to stop this. The video is also an urgent call for the public to be vigilant and be active in curbing the spread of such malicious messages.

In the same video, Brig-Gen Abdul Rahman Al Owais, deputy director-general of the Federal Anti-Narcotics Department, talks about the Ministry of Interior's proactive stance in preventing such crimes.


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Using AI

According to Al Owais, the ministry is collaborating closely with the Ministry of Artificial Intelligence to develop sophisticated mechanisms, including using artificial intelligence (AI) in looking for the source of these illegal activities.

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, explains in the video that AI has highly intelligent capabilities to monitor illegal activities.

He adds that there is a need for a vigilant community to immediately report any unwanted messages to enable AI systems to learn and automatically block such content over time, without human intervention.

His advice is for the public not to share these harmful messages but to promptly report any malicious contents.

Report immediately

Anas Metwally, Meta GCC policy lead, meanwhile, highlights in the same video that encryption measures are in place on WhatsApp to protect user conversations.

Metwally adds the need to promptly identify and report any suspicious messages, as it not only shields individuals from undesirable contacts but also alerts WhatsApp to any potential harmful connections and conversations.

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