Selling goods and services in social networks is no different from trading offline. Both are economic activities that require a government–issued trade license (hereinafter – TL). Social networks have provided small businesses and independent entrepreneurs with a simple and cost-effective platform for their endeavors. Social media platforms are not only effective in marketing, but also require minimal effort and investment. However, they have also become platforms for fraudulent and illegal activities. To protect online consumers and entrepreneurs, the UAE government has made it mandatory to have a TL in Dubai.
In 2018, the UAE Ministry of Economy, together with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, shut down many unauthorized commercial websites and social media pages without a valid TL in Dubai. In the same year, the Department of Economic Development (DED) ordered the closure of more than 13,000 social media accounts for conducting unlicensed trading. Some accounts also sold a huge amount of counterfeit goods, which is why DED and the Department of Consumer Protection took the necessary measures against such pages in social networks.
Due to the growing number of unauthorized sales and fraud on the Internet, a law on the regulation of electronic media was adopted in March 2019. The law stipulates that companies engaged in online trading activities must have a license in Dubai. TL must be approved by DED and the National Media Council (NMC). The activity includes the sale of goods and services or other commercial use of any other online platform. The law also includes the commercial use of social networks by sellers, bloggers, as well as influencers.
What is the penalty for selling on social networks without a license?
Facebook Instagram and WhatsApp are the most popular channels used for online sales. The commercial legislation of the Emirates applies to these as well as to other channels. As a result, citizens and residents of the UAE can be fined up to 500,000 dirhams UAE for illegal online sales. In the Arab Emirates, social media channels are controlled and regulated by the authorities of the Arab Emirates. Their goal is to promote fair trade practices and protect consumers from online fraud.
How do I get a social media license in Dubai?
DED issues business licenses in Dubai to companies wishing to do business in the region. Any type of business, whether online or offline, must get permission from the Department.
To sell on social networks, an organization must have a license issued by DED and NMC. The document will allow you to freely post and promote content related to products and services. It will also give you the creative freedom to run a full-fledged business.