Saudi Arabia: Non-Saudis Banned From Posting Social Media Ads Without A License

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The Saudi General Authority for Audiovisual Media announced a new ban by which visitors and residents are not allowed to post ads on social media without a license. Breakers of this law can face a prison sentence of five-year and fines of up to SR5 million ($1.3 million). The Authority said, it has monitored “violations by numerous non-Saudi advertisers, both residents and visitors, on social media platforms.” The commission said that “after checking their data, it was found that they had committed systemic violations, including lack of commercial registrations and legal licenses, and they are not working under any commercial entity or foreign investment license.”

“This comes within the framework of organizing advertising work in Saudi Arabia by the audiovisual media laws, the Electronic Commerce Law, and the relevant laws and regulations, including the Labor Law issued by Royal Decree No. M/51 dated Shaban 23, 1426, of which article 33 stipulates that a non-Saudi may not practice work and may not be allowed to engage in it except after obtaining a license,” the commission said.

Commercial establishments will be instructed not to interact with, advertise with, or invite non-Saudi advertisers to events promoting products, services, or goods as part of the ruling. Only individuals who work for a commercial business and have a licence and legal documents permitting them to perform commercial advertising on social media platforms will be approved for advertising.

The commission and the Ministry of Commerce both stated that all people and entities in Saudi Arabia must follow the laws and regulations in existence. It urged people to report any violations to the commission’s unified contact centre at or the unified number (920004242), as well as commercial violations to the Ministry of Commerce’s unified call centre at (1900).