8 Facebook Do’s and Don’ts in the UAE
According to the Arab Social Media Report: “Arab Social Media Outlook 2014”, there are over 71 million people in the Arab region utilizes social media. In another study: “Arab World Online 2014”, 91.28 % of Arabs use Facebook, the most popular social network, followed by Google+, YouTube, and Twitter.
The number of social media users in the Arab region is consistently growing. In the UAE, Dubai and Abu Dhabi record the most number of Facebook users. This region has become the focus of attention because of incidents that involve abusive behavior of users in the region. This has caused the government to monitor social media platforms.
To serve as guidelines, the UAE Telecommunication Regularity Authority (TRA) issued white paper on the use of Facebook. Social media users are expected to abide by these rules.
“You must not post content on Facebook which includes hate speech, incites violence or which is threatening or contains graphic or gratuitous violence. There is also a prohibition on posting material which is pornographic or contains nudity.” The UAE is a conservative country. Posting pornographic and malicious content is strictly prohibited.
“You are not allowed to operate any application which contains alcohol-related, dating or other mature content without appropriate restrictions. There are also restrictions and guidelines on the offering of competitions, promotions and other commercial communications, like spam messages.”
Adhere to Social, Religious Morals
“These restrictions are no more than users should expect under the laws of the UAE, which prohibit the publication of content which is contrary to public morals, the principles of Islam and the social and moral welfare of the UAE.” Mocking UAE and its traditions is a big no-no for Facebook users in the country, including tourists and expats.
“Users must not bully, intimidate or harass others.” Cyber bullying is a criminal offense in the UAE. Facebook status which damages a person's reputation is considered harassment and is punishable by law.
Sharing Sensitive Information
Tagging without permission
“There is a restriction on tagging other users without their consent. Users should be aware of the associated risk under UAE law of claims for defamation and breach of privacy involving the use of photographs and videos of other people without consent.” Photographs and videos of another person cannot be posted by another without proper consent and attribution.
“You must not do anything to weaken or damage the proper working or appearance of Facebook. For example, users must not upload viruses or other malicious code.”
“You are responsible for the content which you upload. You should bear this in mind if you are posting content which you do not own or which contains material that is subject to someone else's rights (such as copyright or rights of privacy), as you will need to have the relevant permissions to post the content. If a user repeatedly infringes other people's intellectual property rights (for example copyright in a photograph), Facebook will disable that user's account. There may also be actions that can be taken at law.” Thus, everyone is responsible for content they post online. Remember that ignorance of the law is never an excuse for committing a crime.