Sending heart emojis in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia can now land you in jail, or facing heavy fines, as the government introduces new laws around online expressions of liking. The emojis are now viewed as serious legal violations that could potentially lead to imprisonment, reported Arabian Business.
Speaking about the new law, Haya Al Shalahi, a prominent Kuwaiti lawyer shared that a fine of around 2,000 Kuwaiti dinars and a prison sentence of up to two years are possible penalties for sending heart emojis under specific circumstances. As per the recent law in Kuwait, sending a heart emoji to women on platforms like WhatsApp is now seen as an act of “incitement to debauchery.”
Similarly, Saudi Arabia has also tightened regulations on the casual usage of affectionate emoticons. A red heart on WhatsApp could be considered “harassment” under Saudi Arabian law, according to Al Moataz Kutbi, a cybercrime expert and member of the Anti-Fraud Association. Likewise, sharing a “red heart” emoji on WhatsApp could end up in being charged with severe fines. The punishments include a fine of 100,000 Saudi Riyals and a jail sentence of two to five years.
The cybercrime expert clarified that certain images or phrases used in online dialogues could quickly turn into harassment, particularly if the complainant chooses to file a legal complaint.