U.S. State Department proposes social media screening for visa applicants

MANILA, Philippines – Getting a US visa might become tougher as the US State Department submitted a proposal to include social media vetting for certain visa applicants. The move is a push towards US president Donald Trump's desire for "extreme vetting" as a way to curb terrorism.

In February, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, said they were considering having US embassies ask for the passwords to the social media accounts of applicants. Kelly specified 7 countries that the department believes should undergo the social media screening measures: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. They consider these Muslim-majority countries to have weak background screening of their own.

In the new proposal submitted on Thursday, May 4, user passwords would not be demanded from applicants. Instead, they will be asked to submit all their social media account names or handles used in the last five years.

Along with these, they will be required to submit all prior passport numbers, email addresses, phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information. Applicants can choose not to submit the said items, but will need to provide a reason for doing so. FULL ARTICLE