UAE to regulate social media influencers under new media rules

In a move to regulate the growing online world of paid social media, UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) has adopted a new set of regulations, including a media license for influencers, for the country’s booming influencer industry.

With the giant growth of social media came a wealth of new jobs, including a game-changing opportunity for many people who would soon become Influencers.

With the birth of the online celebrity came uncharted territory for many industries and governments, especially when it came to financial and legal issues. This led to the creation of a new sub-industry in marketing that, theoretically, had no rules.

The NMC is out to change that with their new set of regulations for the fast-growing influence community.

“The new regulations are part of the Council’s plan to promote and develop an advanced legislative and regulatory environment for the UAE media sector, keeping it up-to-speed with regards to all technological developments that have transformed media in recent times.” stated NMC director general Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri.

The new regulations include a mandatory trade license from the NMC in order to continue promoting and selling products online.

The license would be similar to those that magazines and newspapers acquire from the authorities.

Technically, influencers have been subject to the country’s trade licensing requirements, and UAE-based influencers should not have been “invoicing for any services in the UAE without an appropriate trade license,” according to Dubai-based law firm Al Tamimi & Company.

It is only now that the National Media Council seems to have decided to enforce the legal issue.

Anyone who works with electronic media commercial activities must register and apply for the license by the end of June 2018. That means that any influencer who aims to make money of their social posts, will have to have a license.

Legal scholars say that this may be the start of the UAE’s government applying other stricter requirements on influencers such as transparency, in which they would have to state whether a post is paid for.

The NMC’s new regulations are set to professionalize and legalize many aspects of the social media Influencer industry, providing legal protection for both clients and influencers.

It will also provide incentive for global companies, who sell media content online from abroad, can now apply and receive a license and open offices in the UAE. This was done to improve the country’s economy.

The new regulations also show the country’s acknowledgement of influencers becoming a real piece of the media landscape, and that they deserve the same treatment and stability as other media services.

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