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Dubai: The UAE Public Prosecution has issued a fresh warning to residents about the repercussions of posting insults and slanderous comments on social media.

Residents that post such types of comments that include slander and defamation can face imprisonment and/or a fine between Dh250,000 and Dh500,000.

According to Article 20 of Law No.5 2020 on combatting cybercrimes, a person is subject to punishment if they carry out the crime by using telecom networks or any form of IT.

In 2019, Abu Dhabi Police revealed that charges of social media abuse had significantly increased, according to figures from prosecutors. A total of 512 cases of social media violations were reported in 2019 compared to 357 cases reported in 2018. In 2017, as many as 392 cases of social media abuse were registered.

The major social media violations included online harassment, extortion, threats and blackmail, publishing and spreading false information, invading the privacy of others, posting and spreading abusive comments, posting fake ads and rumours, swearing, defamation and inciting others to commit crimes and fraud.

Earlier in April 2020, the Abu Dhabi Attorney-General ordered the arrest of two people who misused social media and who offended the morals of the public after posting offensive video clips that went viral across the country.

The Attorney-General emphasised that UAE laws tackle all types of practices that constitute as an offence against public morals, which include the misuse of technology and social media.

The penalty also applies to those who are found responsible in operating a website, or broadcasting, posting or forwarding offensive material, such as pornographic images and videos.

The Attorney-General stressed that social media users should adhere to a responsible code of ethics when posting photos or videos via their social media accounts, since platforms are widely accessible to children and the youth.

The Abu Dhabi Public Prosecution further warned social media users against publishing material that may harm or offend the morals of the public, including phrases, signs, symbols, images or photographs, as well as any form of text, in addition to any type of visible or audible material.