U.S. Government Now Requires Visa Applicants to Share Their Social Media Information

Those seeking residency in the U.S. must submit their social media handles, email addresses, and phone numbers to the government.

Twitter and Facebook applications are seen grouped in a Social Media folder

Image via Getty/Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto

Twitter and Facebook applications are seen grouped in a Social Media folder

Applicants applying for U.S. visas may have to give the government social media information, according to BBC News.

U.S. State Department has adopted new regulations that will require those seeking residency to submit their social media handles as well as the different email addresses and phone numbers they've used in the last five years. Only diplomatic and official visa applicants are exempt from the requirement.

When the rule was first proposed in March 2018, it was estimated that close to 15 million people a year will be affected, including those coming to the U.S. for employment or scholarly reasons. 

"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," the department explains. 

Prior to adopting these new rules, only certain applicants with potential connections to groups/people that threaten the public's safety were forced to fork over this information.

The Trump administration was met with heavy backlash from civil liberty groups like the ACLU when it initially introduced the changes. Opponents believe this is an unnecessary step in the president's goal of limiting immigration into the country. Other critics think the measure won't be as effective as he hopes because people will just self-censor themselves while using the sites.   

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