Starting a rumour has never looked good on anyone, no matter how harmless. But now starting a rumour in the UAE can have more repercussions than you think.

The dictionary definition of a rumour is: a circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth. While we’ve all no doubt been guilty of spreading a few ourselves, we all know that the results are never desirable – someone always ends up hurt or embarrassed.

Putting an end to unnecessary untruths being spread is the UAE’s Interior Ministry. How will they achieve this? Anyone caught spreading a rumour through social media networks can now face up to three years in prison – and no, before you ask, that is not a rumour. It’s fact.

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By attaching such a severe punishment to what could seem to some as a minor ‘crime’, the Interior Ministry’s aim is to prevent inaccurate news being shared. The fear is that a rumour could damage an economy, threaten public security, and  spread terror and fear through society.

“Those who deliberately spread such rumours or lies could face jail of one month to three years,” said Colonel Salah Al Ghool, director of law promotion office in the secretariat of the UAE Deputy Premier and Interior Minister, to Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm.

“We call on the public not to rely on such information. In the UAE, there are official platforms which provide accurate information and they should be the sole accurate source of any news for the public,” he added.

Sharing a rumour even if you didn’t start it, could also land you in hot water.

If you are suspicious that something is a rumour on social media simply message your concern to Dubai Municipality via WhatsApp on +971 50 107 7799.

You can also visit the rumours page on Dubai Municipality website before posting on your social media platforms – it’s always better to be safe than sorry…

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Image: Getty