Saudi ministry warns against fake ads

Penalties may include fines of up to $266,000

  
Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Getty Images/ TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment has warned against illegal advertisements impersonating its minister on social media in attempts to mislead people into investing.

The ministry’s spokesman, Abdul Rahman Al-Hussein, said that using images of Minister Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi to promote investments under false names or titles is a crime involving fraud and misleading information.

Such advertisements are considered an explicit violation of e-commerce regulations in the Kingdom, Al-Hussein said.

Penalties may include fines of up to SR1 million ($266,000), the blocking of all offending websites and materials, the banning of offenders from future commercial activity, and the defaming of offenders in local newspapers.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Penalties may include fines of up to SR1 million ($266,000), the blocking of all offending websites and materials, the banning of offenders from future commercial activity, and the defaming of offenders in local newspapers.

• The ministry has coordinated with authorities to track the source of the advertisements and to take the necessary legal action against them.

Al-Hussein said the ministry has coordinated with authorities to track the source of the advertisements and to take the necessary legal action against them.

Dr. Majed Al-Hedayan, a senior legal expert in Riyadh, told Arab News: “The law of fighting information crimes aims to reduce the occurrence of such crimes with misleading information, and helps to achieve information security, preserve consumer rights and protect the public interest and national economy.”

He said that the ministry acted to prevent illegal promotional campaigns that were used to influence people with false slogans such as, “message from the crown prince,” “investment opportunities for Saudis only,” and “an opportunity for citizens.”

He added: “Everyone knows that these criminal acts mean the perpetrator is liable to prosecution that includes penalties such as imprisonment and fines, as determined by the judiciary.”

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© Arab News 2020

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