Dubai’s Department of Economic Development shut down 13,948 social media accounts in 2018 for selling counterfeit goods.
The accounts, with a combined total of 77.9 million followers, were closed by the DED’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection department as part of its campaign to protect trademarks and the integrity of the emirate’s e-commerce landscape, as well as its strategy to enhance competitiveness and sustainable business growth in Dubai.
The vast majority of accounts were on Instagram – 13,529 in total – with 419 on Facebook.
The UAE’s state news agency, WAM, reported that round-the-clock surveillance and co-operation with trademark owners and law firms also helped find 45 websites that were selling counterfeit goods.
Ibrahim Behzad, director of intellectual property rights protection at CCCP, said: “The Department of Economic Development is monitoring social media and websites as they are an increasingly popular channel for the movement and supply of goods nowadays.
“Naturally, some traders have taken to such platforms for peddling in counterfeit goods. We have hence strengthened our monitoring of the e-commerce market, social media and all digital channel to maintain and reinforce Dubai’s leading edge in trade and overall economic activity, particularly in the retail sector.”
Behzad revealed that the electronic surveillance team of CCCP has been able to track counterfeits of more than 48 international brands – primarily included bags, watches and phone accessories, as well as perfumes, cosmetics, and clothing.
“The Department of Economic Development does not tolerate any kind of commercial fraud and we enforce the laws and regulations applicable against such practices, including imposing fines,” he said.
The director added that consumers should stay away from outlets and channels that offer counterfeit goods as such practices are detrimental to the rights of trademark owners, urging them to report any negative practices that come to their notice.