Land of Hope and Freedom? America is Asking All Visa Applicants for Their Social Media Accounts

Published June 3rd, 2019 - 10:50 GMT
Screenshot from US visa application. (Twitter/@gsiskind)
Screenshot from US visa application. (Twitter/@gsiskind)

Internet users went to social media to criticize and protest the US State Department decision to require social media usernames from US visa applicants as of this week.


On Saturday, the US State Department announced implementing a new requirement that US visa applicants must submit their social media usernames, email addresses, and phone numbers for the past five years as part of the application.

The step is aimed at “protecting US citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States,” the department said.

The new regulations were first proposed last year in March 2018, yet the State Department has recently updated the application forms to request the additional information.

Social media users went to take screenshots for the new questions added to the visa application forms. It shows a list of social media platforms and asks applicants to fill the account names they had for the past five years.

The new regulations were widely criticized among Americans as well as others. As it highlights the US intention to allow people entering the country after monitoring them and their personal life on social media, it also led people to question the US ability to access the social media archives where it can actually check users’ profiles.

Some users went to share hashtag #WatchWhatYouPost, mocking the US decision.

 

Others described the move as the US’ first steps into becoming ruled by an authoritarian government as this step is similar to ones implemented by some governments in the Middle East.

 


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