Social media is the rage all over the world and the UAE is no different. While social media is indeed a boon – bringing people closer together, it also has its vices. Social media rules therefore become important and which oblige the users, the publishers and stakeholders to follow them.
Social Media Rules
Some of the key social media rules and penalties for their violations are set out below.
Breach of personal data and information: Under Article 6 of the Federal Decree Law No. 34 of 2021 Concerning the Fight Against Rumours and Cybercrime, obtaining, modifying or leaking electronic personal data or information without permission online is punishable with imprisonment for at least 6 months and / or fines between AED 20,000 to AED 100,000.
If the information is related to bank accounts or e-payment methods, this will be deemed as aggravating circumstances.
Publication of information inconsistent with media content criteria: This would be relevant for the publishers or administrators of a website.
In accordance with Article 16 of the Cybercrime Law, every administrator managing a website or electronic account who publishes information, content or data which is inconsistent with the media content requirement as set out by the competent authorities will be penalized. These penalties include imprisonment for 1 year maximum and fines between AED 30,000 to AED 300,000.
Harming reputation of the State: Any person who publishes any information, news, data or rumors on a website in order to harm the reputation of the country or any of the authorities, or leaders, or the national anthem, etc., will be punished under Article 25 of the Cybercrime Law. The punishments include imprisonment for 5 years maximum and fines not exceeding AED 500,000.
Incitement to prostitution: If a person incites or seduces another person for prostitution or lewdness by using the information network will be sentenced to imprisonment and fines between AED 250,000 to AED 1 million. If the victim is a child, then the imprisonment will not be less than 5 years under Article 33 of the Cybercrime Law.
Harming Public Morals: This is an important provision, as Article 34 of the Cybercrime Law states that everyone who creates, manages or supervises a website online that harms public morals or has pornography, will be sentenced to punishments. These punishments include imprisonment and / or fines between AED 250,000 and AED 500,000.
Contempt of Religions and encouraging sins: This is another crucial provision to be mindful of. Under Article 37 of the Cybercrime Law, abusing one of Islamic sacred sites or rituals, or abusing sacred sites or rituals of any other religion (provided that sites or rituals are inviolable according to Islamic principles), insulting a recognized divine religion or encouraging, or propagating sins will lead to punishments. These punishments include imprisonment and / or fines of AED 250,000 to AED 1 million.
Harsher punishment, such as imprisonment for maximum 7 years may be imposed if the crimes involves blasphemy against the tenets of Islamic religion, or undermining Islam or such similar actions.
Defamation: Insulting another person or attributing to him an event which will render him subject to contempt or punishment online is punishable with imprisonment and / or fines between AED 250,000 to AED 500,000.
Disclosure of Secrets and Privacy Breach: Taking photos, eavesdropping, and disclosing or exposing such photos online in order to breach the privacy or family life of individuals without consent will be sentenced to punishment of at least 6 months and fines between AED 150,000 and AED 500,000.
The above are only some of the social media rules under law and it is crucial to follow all the social media rules stipulated by the federal and local authorities to ensure that you are not in breach.