UAE consumers warned to be wary of online influencer endorsements

Dubai Consumer Protection department posts video encouraging people to think before they buy

The UAE brought in new laws earlier this year requiring influencers, who are paid for content, to have a trade licence and an e-media licence costing a total of Dh30,000. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Dubai's retail regulator has warned consumers to think twice before blindly following the lead of an increasing number of social media influencers who promote products and services online.

Social media stars with large numbers of followers are pushing brands in posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and being paid fortunes for doing so.

Dubai Consumer Protection has advised consumers to be wary about allowing purchasing habits to be persuaded by influencers who may have no information on the products they are promoting.

New regulations were introduced this year requiring anyone promoting products online in the UAE in exchange for payment or benefits must be licensed by the National Media Council.

The DCP posted a video of around 35 seconds on Twitter, showing a woman sitting down to enjoy a croissant in a restaurant, photographing her food and then posting it online before being handed an envelope with payment.

She then gets up and walks off without eating her meal.

“Do not restrict your choices to social media influencers opinion on a product, service or a meal in a restaurant,” the government message said.

“Some of them are paid to advertise convincingly to you. Ask more before you make a purchase.”

The authorities have sought to regulate social media businesses and influencers in recent months, including the need to have a social media licence.

Influencers must have a trade licence and an e-media licence at a cost of about Dh30,000.


Read more:

UAE's paid social media influencers will need licence under new media rules

$5,000 a post: the power of UAE’s social media influencers

National Editorial: Social media influencers should take responsibility