Jordan leads Arab countries in drafting social media regulation strategy

Kingdom’s spending on social media is JD81m in 2022, says minister

social media
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordan is spearheading an initiative with other Arab countries to draft a strategy that would regulate social media platforms, protect users from harmful and illegal content, and create a framework for digital taxation, Minister of Government Communication Faisal Shboul said on Sunday. اضافة اعلان

The Kingdom was officially tasked with preparing the strategy during the 52nd session of the Council of Arab Information Ministers held in Cairo, Egypt last September, Shboul added.

According to a local media outlet, the strategy will include a guiding draft law to help organize Arab countries’ relationship with social media platforms, with a focus on combating false and misleading news, pornographic and sexually exploitative content, hate speech, and prejudice against Arabs and Muslims.

The law will apply to social media platforms with over 500,000 users, requiring them to remove or block harmful or illegal content within 24 hours after a complaint is submitted.

Through the strategy, said Shboul, social media platforms will also be required to provide clear and easy channels for users to report such content.

Platforms will also not be permitted to use algorithms that limit the spread of content that supports the Palestinian cause, he added.

‘Common work mechanism’ to secure financial compensationThe strategy will also involve adopting "common work mechanisms" to secure financial compensation from international media companies, social media and digital content platforms, and search engines to ensure the sustainability of local media outlets.

This will help make up for the "lost profit from digital advertisements and subscriptions" and solidify the sustainability of local media outlets.

The strategy was approved by the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Information Ministers on March 15, and will be presented during the upcoming session of the Council of Arab Information Ministers.

After adoption, an Arab technical team will be formed to communicate with social media platforms to negotiate the implementation of the strategy and enact the needed national legislation to regulate social media in the Arab world.

JD81 million spent on social mediaShboul also noted that the Jordanian market spent JD81 million ($114 million) on social media in 2022, a significant sum that neither “local media outlets nor the government benefited from as it was not subject to taxes”.

He also emphasized that there are 175 million social media users in the Arab world who can use their bargaining power to ensure the implementation of this strategy, which draws from the European experience in organizing member countries’ relationship with social media.

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