Dubai's DED shuts down nearly 10,000 social media accounts
Instagram the main source of trouble, says official
Dubai's Department of Economic Development (DED) closed 8,894 social networking accounts that were used to peddle counterfeit goods last year, it announced on Sunday.
The DED's commercial compliance and consumer protection (CCCP) sector said the crackdown was part of protecting trademarks and eliminating practices that are harmful to e-commerce.
The electronic compliance section in CCCP tracked the fraud and closed down the accounts in collaboration with owners and representatives of the brands that were subject to the infringement. Together, the accounts were found to have more than 94.5 million followers and 80% were Instagram accounts, although other platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, were also used by the violators.
Ibrahim Behzad, director of intellectual property rights protection management in CCCP, said: "Social networking accounts have come in handy for many who trade in counterfeit goods nowadays but the Electronic Compliance section maintain tight vigil to prevent such misuse of modern technology and protect the reputation of Dubai as a competitive business hub."
He said the number of social networking accounts closed down in 2016 was 200% higher compared to 2015 as more violators resorted to social media thinking such sites are safe.
"However, the Department of Economic Development promptly maintained round-the-clock vigil and acted on complaints from trademark owners. A variety of counterfeit goods including bags, perfumes, watches, cosmetics, phones and accessories were being displayed on the social networking sites."
A number of villas, warehouses and apartments used to stock counterfeits were raided and the goods confiscated last year after reinforced monitoring efforts by the DED team.
Behzad urged consumers, especially women, not to fall prey to social networking accounts that promote counterfeit products.
"A large majority of the counterfeit products are aimed to lure women. Counterfeiting compromises the health and safety of the consumers," he said.
The DED called on the public to contact it on the Ahlan Dubai number 600 54 5555 or on its twitter account @Dubai_Consumers.
Source: Arabian Business