Published on : Monday, April 2, 2018
Under a proposed rule issued by the State Department, nearly all visa applicants (approximately 14.7 million people) to enter the United States will be asked to submit their social-media user names for the past five years.
The Trump administration had earlier announced that the applicants for immigrant visas will have to provide the social-media data which is bound to effect 710,000 people or so in a year.
It is expected that the new proposal will be vastly expanded and will be covering around 14 million people applying for the nonimmigrant visas each year.
Around 20 social media platforms will be covered under the proposal and most of them are based in the United States like the them are based in the United States: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube.
While others are also based overseas like the : the Chinese sites Douban, QQ, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Youku; the Russian social network VK; Twoo, which was created in Belgium; and Ask.fm, a question-and-answer platform based in Latvia.
Trump has earlier promised ‘extreme vetting’ of people seeking to enter the United States and during last March the consular officers were directed by the consular officers to step up the scrutiny of visa applicants.
There will be a tangible new requirement for millions of people applying to visit the United States for business and will include citizens of countries from Brazil, China , India and Mexico.
However, the citizens from approximately 40 countries to which United States ordinarily grants visa-free travel will hardly be affected by the requirement.
Major allies like the Australia, Britain, Canada France, Germany, Japan and South Korea will be included.
Those travelling on diplomatic and official visas will also be exempted.
Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project criticized the attempt stating that the attempt to collect a massive amount of information on the social media activity of millions of visa applicants is yet another ineffective and deeply problematic Trump administration plan.
The rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens will be infringed by chilling freedom of speech and association as people will now have to wonder if what they say online will be misconstrued or misunderstood by a government official.
Others found this to be unnecessarily intrusive and ridiculous and Facebook mentioned that the positioned has not changed and any efforts to force travelers at the border to turn their private account, information and passwords.