Closure, Fines of Up To Dh10,000: Abu Dhabi Firms Warned Against Illegal Contracts With Social Media Influencers

Authorities in Abu Dhabi are calling on all licensed businesses in the emirate to follow the guidelines related to partnerships with social media influencers. Failure to comply will expose violators to closure or fines starting from Dh3,000 and going up to Dh10,000, according to the Department of Economic Development (ADDED).

In a circular today (June 20), it listed three areas of compliance for relevant economic establishments to adhere to, as below:

  • Social media influencers must obtain a licence from the department before advertising services through websites
  • Economic establishments must obtain a permit from ADDED when carrying out any advertising activity (advertisements, marketing, or other promotional activity)
  • Economic establishments must ensure that they have a valid licence issued by ADDED when contracting with influencers and social networking sites

In 2018, the National Media Council issued rules stating that social media influencers who make money from promoting brands and businesses will need to secure a media licence.

A similar reminder was also issued in 2019 when authorities warned unlicensed paid social media influencers to get a licence or pay a fine of Dh5,000. NMC has a team that monitors illegal activities on social media and other online platforms.

Social media influencing has become a lucrative industry, with individuals with large followings on platforms like Instagram and TikTok asking huge amounts of money to promote brands online.

However, normal media influencers who just share everyday stuff with their followers don’t need a licence. They can recommend restaurants etc as long as they are not paid.

The rules also mandated that news websites, electronic publishing outlets, and on-demand printing, including commercial activities conducted through social media within the UAE, first get a licence from the NMC to operate in the country. Under the regulations, those using social media to promote brands and businesses for cash must also get a media licence issued by the NMC.


Khaleej Times

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