Social media in the UAE lies on a spectrum of some sort. On one side, the rules and policies occupying the interwebs in the country are strictly implemented in order to safeguard individuals and protect people's right to privacy. On the other side, the Gulf nation encourages people to make use of their social media platforms, aka become so-called influencers, by obtaining a license.
In a recent tweet, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, shared a list of characteristics that make an Emirati personality a representative of the nation. In other words, there are 10 things Emiratis should adhere to when posting on social media, according to the Dubai royal.
"What are the characteristics of an Emirati personality that we want on social media?"
Dubai's ruler encourages Emiratis who are - or wish to - represent their country online to follow certain guidelines when posting. An authentic representative of the UAE is encouraged to do the following:
- Represent Sheikh Zayed's vision and his teachings and share positive information about the UAE through posts shared
- Post messages that reflect the country's accomplishments
- Avoid obscene language, do not insult others, and steer away from immoral discussions on social media
- Use logic and science when debating with others
- Be kind, welcoming and tolerant towards others
- Be useful to others by sharing your knowledge and ideas that contribute to both social and humanitarian initiatives
- Integrate with others on social media through language exchange and discussions
- Be confident, accept differences and try to bridge the gap between people of different backgrounds
- Be modest, loving and open towards others
- Be proud of your nation and be willing to sacrifice for it
The full original list in Arabic is provided below:
Emirati representatives on social media are encouraged to share posts that are in line with the UAE's vision in its entirety.
Generally, the UAE advises all social media users in the country to follow the country's cybercrime laws to avoid trouble, fines, and in some cases deportation.
The UAE, for example, prohibits internet users and publishers from offending, defaming, insulting, or ridiculing any religion and from provoking hate speech. Its laws particularly stipulate provisions that prohibit content that insults Islamic principles, or promotes apostasy, leaving Islam, or committing sinful acts. Offenders face a prison sentence reaching up to seven years, along with a fine of up to one million dirhams ($272,245).
Publishing information, news, statements, or rumors "with intent to make sarcasm or damage the reputation, prestige or stature of the State or any of its institutions or its president, vice-president, any of the rulers of the Emirates, their crown princes, or the deputy rulers of the Emirates, the State flag, the national peace, its logo, national anthem or any of its symbols" is also punishable by temporary imprisonment and a fine of up to one million dirhams ($272,245).
These are just two examples of what type of content the UAE considers illegal in the online sphere. So even if you're not representing the nation through your social media platforms, you must still respect the policies that occupy the space.