Applicants for a US Visa Now Required to Share Details of Their Social Media Pages, Including Instagram and Flickr

Applicants for a US Visa Now Required to Share Details of Their Social Media Pages, Including Instagram and Flickr

Anyone intending to apply for a US visa will now face the additional step of surrendering their social media handles, after it was announced the State Department will require such information before agreeing to proceed. The move is a “vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors,” with the options listed ranging from Facebook, to photo platforms such as Instagram and Flickr.

As per the Associated Press, this has been a rule for quite some time. However, it had previously only applied to a certain category of passenger, such as those with links to countries rife with terrorist organizations and activity.

Said to be an attempt to “improve the screening process and confirm the applicants’ identity,” the new enforcement requires applicants to provide details of their own accord for any social media network not listed in the application form. Previous email addresses and phone numbers that have been active in the past five years are also required.

After initially being proposed back in March of last year, the extra security measure has now been introduced, and will be applied to both immigrants and non-immigrants, including anyone traveling to the U.S. for business and/or education. It’s anticipated that some 15 million foreigners will  apply for a US visa this year.

The US State Department said:

National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening. We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.

Lead image: Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

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user-206807's picture

I have no intention of going to the Soviet Union of America before the end of my life.....

Jeff McCollough's picture

I think it's great. Canada regularly checks people's cellphones as they are entering the country. New Zealand has some really strict immigration and customs laws. Every country has the right to set rules for people trying to enter the country. If you have a problem with this then you must have something to hide.

I immigrated to a different country and I had to get background checks, Interpol checks etc etc. It wasn't easy but I didn't sneak across the border. If you can't follow the rules you are lazy.

This seems more like a totalitarian tactic to accumulate more information about people than a way of reducing terrorism in any significant way. If the USA would redirect the money they use on most anti-terror measures to provide better/cheaper health care, to reduce poverty and to improve gun control, more lives could be saved every couple of years than have been lost in terror-related attacks around the world in the last 100 years!

A major problem with many modern anti-terror measures are that they are what experts call "security theatre", i.e. they do not really improve security but it looks like action is being taken. "Look how much we do to prevent terrorism!"

We have, unfortunately, succumbed to the idea that we have to curb people's freedom to a previously unthinkable extent to stop every possible terrorist attack, despite this being impossible. If we look at the Founding Fathers of USA and their ideas of freedom, I think they would not be able to find it in modern-day society.

It seems that the terrorists have in fact won — most of the world is now living with an irrational fear of a fate that has been and still is extremely unlikely.

user-206807's picture

People who build walls around them forget one thing: they end up living in a prison.

It's called a home.

user-206807's picture

If only cancer and heart disease could have Instagram and Facebook accounts………

Jeff McCollough's picture

Then I want you to sleep on the street with your family and see what happens.

Is fstoppers subsc. valid as well...?