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UAE Now Requires Licenses for 'Social Media Influencers'

The United Arab Emirates' Al-Fursan (The Knights) National Aerobatic Team performs with smoke with the colours of the UAE flag, during the 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on February 3, 2018.

The United Arab Emirates says it will now require anyone conducting "commercial activities" through social media to register for a government-issued license.

The new rules announced Tuesday target so-called "social media influencers," who parlay their internet fame into advertising products.

Officials said the new rules would help ensure "that media material respects the religious, cultural and social values of the UAE," a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Those affected need to register by the end of June or face 5,000-dirham ($1,360) fines.

The UAE, while liberal in many regards compared to its Middle Eastern neighbors, has strict laws governing expression.

Journalists working in the country require government-issued press cards. People also have been jailed for their comments online.