US visa applicants will have to share social media details
People travelling to the US to work or study will have to submit social media names and five years worth of email addresses and phone numbers, under new rules.
Authorities estimate that the change could affect 14.7 million people annually.
Certain diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempt from the stringent new measures.
We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States, a State Department reportedly said.
Before the proposed change, only people who needed additional vetting – such as those who had been to parts of the world controlled by terrorist groups – needed to hand over this data.
But now applicants will have to give up their account names on a list of social media platforms, and also volunteer the details of their accounts on any sites not listed.
Anyone found to be lying about their social media accounts, could face serious immigration consequences according to a State Department official who spoke to the Hill.
When the Trump administration first proposed the rules in March 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights group, said there is no evidence that such social media monitoring is effective or fair.