Sharing heart emoji may lead to jail: Report

Saudi Arabia: Celebrating Valentine’s Day or exchanging heart emojis may lead to serving jail time or severe penalties, according to reports.

The government of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is tightening its cyber laws day by day. On Valentine’s Day, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) government has enacted another new law, according to which anyone who sends a heart on WhatsApp can be fined up to 100,000 riyals and/or sentenced to two to five years in prison.

According to a foreign news agency, a member of the Saudi Anti-Fraud Association, while giving details, said that under the new law concerning the use of heart emoji on WhatsApp, if a person files a complaint and the allegation(s) are proved to be true, the accused can be fined and punished. According to reports, sharing heart emojis on WhatsApp is considered a crime of harassment. If the receiving user calls for action against the sender then, the use of emojis and images during online chats could turn into a crime of online harassment.

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The Saudi Anti-Fraud Association has warned WhatsApp users not to engage in inappropriate conversations with anyone without the user’s permission or consent. In case of recurrence of the crime, the fine can go up to 300,000 riyals and the punishment can be increased up to 5 years.

According to Gulf News, the Saudi official cautioned users “against entering into a conversation with any user without their consent” and warned against the use of “explicit expressions or red heart emojis”. 

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