Saudi Arabia launches Mawthooq platform for individual advertising on social media

Three-year licence is 15,000 Saudi riyals and requires individuals to abide by the country's content laws

Saudi authorities to issue licences to allow individuals to advertise on social media. AFP
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Saudi Arabia has launched the Mawthooq, or "verified" programme for social media users. It allows people to obtain licences to post advertisements on social media, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media announced on Sunday.

By visiting the commission's website, people can apply for a licence, valid for three years, for 15,000 Saudi riyals ($4,000) provided they adhere to the government's content regulations and use an account registered with the commission.

Acting information minister Majid Al Qassabi said the move aims to "regulate the advertising and digital content sector" in the kingdom.

Current legislation covers abuses of social media. Defamation of "individuals, companies' products or brands", and filming people without their consent are punishable offences under the commission and e-commerce council laws.

Non-Saudis are prohibited from posting advertisements on social media without a licence. Saudi law bans non-Saudis from working without a licence.

In May, the commission said an "Arab visitor" was given a SAR400,000 Saudi riyals fine and banned from online advertising after she was found in breach of audio-visual and e-commerce regulations.

The woman, who was using the social media platform Snapchat, had also contravened the country's "anti-smoking laws", and was operating without a licence, Gcam said, without providing further detail.

Users identified the woman as a Lebanese citizen with a following of more than 13 million on Instagram and other platforms, who offers beauty advice and promotes brands through her pages on social media.

Updated: August 01, 2022, 5:42 PM