A new licensing system in Saudi Arabia will regulate advertisements posted by influencers on social media. According to the Kingdom’s General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), all Saudi and non-Saudi content creators who profit and earn revenue from social media ads must first obtain an official permit starting early October.
The license costs SAR 15,000 (US $4,000) and is valid for three years, during which time creators are free to partner with as many brands as they like, to promote any product or service while abiding by the Kingdom’s laws. Conditions to apply for the license from GCAM include adhering to the commission’s regulations, the content, advertising, and rating (including age rating) controls, and agreeing to provide any data or information or reports it requests.
While all Saudi residents and even those living abroad can directly obtain the permit from the GCAM, non-Saudi residents will have to first take permission from the Ministry of Investment to work in the country, before applying for the license. They must also have specific advertising agencies representing them. The GCAM has assured that this new system does not enforce censorship, and is instead legal protection for both, the creators and the brands they advertise, to ensure that rates and contractual obligations are standardized across the Kingdom.
The foundation for the new system was laid earlier in June, when the GCAM prohibited foreign influencers and visitors from posting advertisements in Saudi Arabia without a work permit. GCAM imposed the ban after finding “violations by numerous non-Saudi advertisers, both residents and visitors, on social media platforms,” and stated that those in violation could face a possible five-year prison sentence and fines of up to SAR 5 million.