Social media celebrities must now obtain a licence for making marketing and promotional ads in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia approved yesterday the kingdom’s first legislation mandating social media celebrities to obtain a licence for making marketing and promotional ads, local media reported.

According to Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Acting Minister of Media of the Kingdom, the General Commission For Audiovisual Media has introduced a new licence granting social media celebrities the legal capacity to provide advertising services through social media platforms.

The minister said the move aims to regulate the advertising and digital content sector in the Kingdom. The three-year licence will cost SR 15,000.

The commission called on Saudi individuals practicing this activity to obtain a licence before October 1, in order to avoid any legal consequences and financial fines.

According to the new regulation, the ads must be displayed on the social media account registered with the commission and linked to the licence granted to the person.

The marketer should also start the ad with an announcement that it will be an advertising content, whether in writing or orally.

In June, Saudi Arabia banned non-Saudi residents and visitors to the Kingdom from posting ads on social media without a licence, with those who ignore the ruling facing a possible five-year prison sentence and fines of up to SR5 million.

The commission announced the ban, saying it has monitored “violations by numerous non-Saudi advertisers, both residents and visitors, on social media platforms.”