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Saudi Arabia: New social media requirements

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In a clear reflection of the growing importance of the digital content sector in Saudi Arabia, the media regulator in the Kingdom has introduced a requirement for individuals to obtain a license prior to publishing advertising content through social media platforms. The programme – known as Mawthooq, which translates as “verified” – will authorise individuals to post advertisements and promotional content on social media.

As the number of content creators in the Kingdom grows, this licensing requirement has been introduced to ensure that social media advertisers and influencers adhere to the Kingdom’s media policies and controls. Those content rules are currently set out in various criminal laws, media/publications legislation and regulatory standards that apply restrictions on both online and offline content, including prohibitions on content that could harm national security, offend public morality or damage the reputation of the Kingdom.

The license is valid for three years and will allow for advertisements to be published via an account registered with the Authority. Account holders will need to flag advertising content and must ensure that promoted products or services are properly licensed. The controls apply to all types of online advertisements whether images, video, audio or text.

Influencers in Saudi Arabia have to align with the new requirements and ensure that they are only promoting appropriate products or services. Organisations using social media personalities and influencers for promotions in the Kingdom should ensure that the individuals they work with are duly licensed under the new system.

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