(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Facebook users in the uae have been warned against tagging other users without their consent and posting content that is contrary to public morals the principles of islam and the social and moral welfare of the uae or anything that offends a nation or its government.
the warning came in a whitepaper on facebook published by the telecom regulatory authority (tra) of the country on tuesday.
referring to the restrictions on tagging other users the advisory said primarily facebook users should not tag other users without their consent.
“users should be aware of the associated risk under uae law of claims for defamation and breach of privacy involving the use of photographs and videos of other people without consent. the uae law contains quite broad provisions relating to the protection of privacy and reputation so care needs to be taken when posting information about others” said the whitepaper.
educating the public about the general restrictions on facebook usage the tra said that many of the privacy and usage guidelines are similar to the existing laws in the uae which contain broad provisions relating to the protection of privacy and reputation. “many of the restrictions described in the whitepaper are no more than users should expect under the laws of the uae” it clarified adding that the whitepaper was published as a public service and for general information purposes only.
the whitepaper was drafted after reviewing facebook users’ rights and responsibilities data use policy and community guidelines of the social networking site which has over one billion users across the world. in the uae 69 per cent of the facebook users are male.
“it is important that users familiarise themselves with these terms as a violation of them could lead to the removal of content or the deactivation of your account. it is also important to note that if you undertake certain activities you may be breaking the law even if you think you are complying with facebook’s terms.”
users of facebook must be aged 13 or above and must not bully intimidate or harass others.
on the morality front users must not post content on facebook which includes hate speech incites violence or which is threatening or contains graphic or gratuitous violence. there is also a prohibition on posting material which is pornographic or contains nudity.
“you are not allowed to operate any application which contains alcohol-related dating or other mature content without appropriate restrictions. there are also restrictions and guidelines on the offering of competitions promotions and other commercial communications like spam messages” the authority cautioned.
facebook’s terms include provisions relating to respect for the privacy of others the authority has reminded. “you must not post anyone else’s identification documents or sensitive financial information on facebook (unless it is explained in another privacy posting).
the authority said the uae laws also place obligations on individuals for the purpose of managing online security threats. “facebook users must not provide false personal information or create an account for anyone else without permission. you must not create more than one personal account and you must keep your contact information up-to-date” it highlighted.
dushyant bhatia a social media expert in dubai welcomed the authority’s move to enlighten the public about the use of facebook.
“there have been quite a number of cases of misuse of social networking sites including criminal cases. so it’s a good move to inform the users about the do’s and don’ts” he told khaleej times.
however he pointed out that tagging other users on facebook is a common practice which can be controlled by the users who get tagged by changing their privacy settings.
“it’s not practical to seek consent before tagging a user. giving consent to a tag or allowing a tagged post on the timeline is in the hands of the user who is getting tagged once the notification goes to that person” explained bhatia who is also the managing director of digital marketing company gozoop online.
the instruction that people should not use more than one account will restrict the number of fake accounts he observed. “there are people who make 10-12 fake accounts to participate in contests to win prizes and for other secret purposes. we have the technology to track these fake profiles and we block them from fan pages of brands running contests” said bhatia.
the whitepaper available on www.tra.gov.ae also warns against sharing password and other private financial and sensitive information.
the social network sites to be included in ‘the uae social media white papers’ collection are twitter; instagram; youtube; yahoo/flickr; linkedin; gmail; microsoft outlook; apple store; blackberry and keek.