Dubai shuts down 14,000 social media accounts for selling fake goods

Instagram and Facebook accounts, with close to 78 million followers, shut down for peddling counterfeit goods

Authorities from the Department of Economic Development have shut down 13,948 social media accounts selling fake goods online. AP
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Social media accounts selling counterfeit goods to almost 78 million followers have been shut down by Dubai consumer protection watchdogs.

Officials from the Department of Economic Development ordered 13,948 social media accounts to close in 2018, in the latest crackdown of fake goods.

All but 419 accounts were on Instagram, with the rest using Facebook to sell fake items online.

Action was also taken against a further 45 websites, for similar breaches of consumer protection laws, following a prolonged surveillance operation with trademark owners and lawyers.

Ibrahim Behzad, director of intellectual property rights protection at the department, said social media was beginning to dominate illegal markets for fake goods.

“They are an increasingly popular channel for the movement and supply of goods,” he said.

“Naturally, some traders have taken to such platforms for peddling in counterfeit goods.

“We have hence strengthened our monitoring of the e-commerce market, social media and all digital channels

“This will maintain and reinforce Dubai’s leading edge in trade and overall economic activity, particularly in the retail sector.”

Last year, the department seized 19.9 million counterfeit items from traders in the Dubai.

Mr Behzad said the electronic surveillance team of the commercial compliance and consumer protection sector tracked counterfeits of more than 48 international brands, which primarily included bags, watches and phone accessories, in addition to perfumes, cosmetics, and clothing.

“The Department of Economic Development does not tolerate any kind of commercial fraud and we enforce the laws and regulations applicable against such practices, including imposing fines,” he said.

Consumers can report negative practices by calling 600 54 5555, or on the @dubai_consumers account of CCCP on Instagram and Twitter.