Dubai: A Saudi expert in the cybercrimes has warned the public that sending someone a red heart on WhatsApp can land the sender in jail, Okaz newspaper reported.
According to the Saudi law, if the sender was found to be guilty, he could be jailed for two to five years together with an SR100,000 fine.
In a statement to the Saudi newspaper, Al Moataz Kutbi, member of the Anti-Fraud Association in Saudi Arabia, said that sending “red hearts” on WhatsApp amounts to a “harassment crime”, adding that the use of “some images and expressions during online chats may turn into a crime of harassment if a lawsuit is filed by the injured party.”
He cautioned users of apps against entering into a conversation with any user without their consent or engaging in uncomfortable or intrusive conversations, warning against “using explicit expressions or red heart emojis.”
“According to the anti-harassment system, harassment is defined as every statement, act, or gesture with a sexual connotation made by a person towards any other that touches his/her body or honour or infringes his/her modesty by any means, including modern technology. This includes (emojis) associated with the sexual connotations according to the custom of society, such as red hearts and red roses,” Kutbi said.
He made it clear that the sender will be held accountable for such abuses if the issue was reported to competent authorities and the charge is proven against the offender. In this case, a fine not exceeding one SR100,000 and/or a jail term of two years will be issued against the suspect and in case of repeated violation, the fine could reach SR300,000 together with five years in jail.