UAE Announces Advertising Guidelines Online & on Social Media

In recent years, the role of online advertising in marketing has expanded all over the world, including the UAE. And so, the National Media Council (NMC) has released an official guide for online advertisers, setting standards for online content as well as social media advertisements.

ALSO READ: Online Media Firms Now Required to Have NMC License

On Monday (October 29), the NMC made the announcement on the new guide during a press conference in their Abu Dhabi headquarters. The Executive Director for Media Affairs, Dr. Rashid Al Nuaimi, talked about advertising in the global media sector. Learn more about these guidelines below!

National Media Council Issues Rules on Online Advertisement & Sponsored Posts

“The rapid growth of the global media sector has seen the advertising sector in the UAE play an ever-increasing role in driving the economy,” Dr. Nuaimi explained. “It contributes to the increase of product consumption, which in turn leads to an increase in production output — a fundamental aspect of economic development.”

“It also has an important role in terms of social utility, as effective advertising can support cultural heritage and the civilization of the state,” he added.

Here are some of the guidelines that the NMC released, according to their official website:

Advertising Rules
Generally speaking, all advertisers should:

  • Respect intellectual property rights;
  • Maintain ethical codes of conduct and uphold standards of honesty;
  • Seek prior approval from concerned authorities regarding advertisements about health, education, and real estate; and
  • Comply with rules governing consumer protection, fair competition controls, commercial fraud, and legal monopoly.

On the other hand, they should NOT:

  • Harm the economic system of the state;
  • Spread rumours or biased and misleading news;
  • Publish images or words that violate public morality; and
  • Create advertising for alcohol, narcotics, and tobacco in all its forms.

Rules on Advertising Content
In terms of content, all advertisements should NOT:

  • Be vague, ambiguous, or unclear;
  • Contain false or misleading claims;
  • Use falsified images;
  • Exaggerate the product or service being advertised;
  • Lead to confusion with other names, products, or activities;
  • Endorse criminal activity; and
  • Violate the existing standards related to media content and age classification.

Rules on Social Media Advertisements
When it comes to social media, the new guide states that anyone who carries out advertising activities on a commercial basis should obtain a prior license from the NMC. The account holder would be considered as the primary person responsible for the content of the said account.

The guide also states that advertisements on social media, blogs, or websites should be:

  • Clearly defined;
  • Distinct and independent from editorial and information material; and
  • Clearly disclosed whether the advertisement is a paid-for promotion.

Activities Exempted from Social Media Licenses
Notably, the guide cites the following as “exempted” from social media licenses:

  • Charitable and volunteer activities;
  • Free-of-charge advertising conducted on a non-commercial basis; and
  • Any other activities deemed as exempted by the NMC.

In other words, if you are sharing content related to charity or volunteerism, or simply posting personal content online, you do NOT need to obtain social media licenses.

DISCLAIMER: The guidelines presented above are for information-sharing purposes only. To learn more about the rules and standards for advertising online and on social media, please visit the National Media Council official website. In addition, make sure that you are aware of these social media rules in the UAE.