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U.S. Requiring Social Media Information From Visa Applicants: You Better Mind What You Post

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Phone screen showing social media apps

One of the major things Donald Trump promised his electorate was reducing immigration to the US. It seems the measures that have been introduced since he got into office have had little effect to bring down the number of people coming to the country. So new changes have been made to empower immigration officials when screening applications.

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As of Friday, almost all US visa applications now must include a their social media profile information, plus email addresses and phone numbers from the last five years. Exceptions will only be made for a few types of diplomatic and official visa requests.

People applying for a visa will have to give details of any accounts they have on a predetermined list of major social platforms, though in the future other smaller sites will be included, too. A Department of State official said,

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social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity. This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil.

Until now, social media information has only been a requirement on visa applications from people who needed ‘additional vetting’, meaning people who have been to suspicious or coming from hostile territories like Syria, Iraq or North Korea. So it seems more like they making official a practice that has been happening all along.

What if you lie and say that you are not on any social network?

You will probably get away with it if you lie but the State official said that there would be “serious immigration consequences” for anyone found to be lying about their social presence.

Privacy concern?

While some have expressed concerns that this is an invasion of privacy, to me I just think that its only sensible when undertaking any investigation into who a person is and what they believe (whether for a new job or in this case entry to a country) to include checks on social media. I just don’t buy the idea that a persons digital life should be separate from their real world life. I actually think that in future even banks and other lending institutions will be requesting your social media information when you ask for a loan.

Of course privacy should be valued but also the security of a country should be valued as well. Its a dilema.


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4 thoughts on “U.S. Requiring Social Media Information From Visa Applicants: You Better Mind What You Post

  1. This is a good idea. People who post supporting terrorist organisations like ZANU-PF and EFF should not be granted visas.

  2. You think it’s a good idea?

    What do you honestly know about the fight for digital privacy?

    If it’s a mission to suck up for a VISA, it will not work!

  3. I think it is a good idea considering the age that we are living in an digital footprint a person has is vital to knowing and how it will affect the other party, despite saying terrorism and all that but it is key to note that people when they subscribe to the free platform they are selling their data and information and hence never read the fine print.

  4. What the average computer user calls “privacy” is relative to their knowledge in this dynamic and ever-growing domain. There is reverse engineering, encryption/decryption algorithms etc which can easily unmask whatever it is you’re trying to hide on servers and client devices that are hooked end-to-end in “no man’s land” – a network you cannot control. Why would you think software is made available for free (soical networks) and yet thousands of dollars are then required to keep your data “safe”? Does this make business sense?

    It would be prudent, imho, if users would be forced to get fully acquainted with hardware and software basics before using the technology. You see, genius has limits whilst stupidity doesn’t, especially with a dose of ego thrown in.
    How many people have you seen driving whilst on Whatsapp? or pedestrians crossing the road wearing headphones? …or even drivers with headphones on?….or careless posts that one regrets as soon as they have hit the send button?

    The future is much less secure, with everyone hooked online in a slavery network where they volunteer information about themselves and their “links’ allowing them to be tracked on whatever they are doing, where they are and much more than they can think, track or recall for themselves. Governing will be much easier for despots and their henchmen. Read “The Machine Stops” by EM Foster you’ll understand what I’m trying to get at – it was a set book for “O” Level English Literature at the end of the Rhodesian era. Some have already begun worshipping “The Smartphone”…not so smart eh? this will soon be overtaken by the “Smart/Autonomous Car”…..

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