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US now requires social media information for visa applicants

The State Department is now requiring for US visa to provide more information including their social media handles, email addresses, and phone numbers for the past five years.

According to a report by BBC News, the rules which was first proposed last March 2018 will require people travelling to the US to work or to study to provide the information asked from a list of social media platforms and also volunteer information regarding the accounts they have but are not included on the list.

Meanwhile, some diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempted from the new measures.

Such requirement was just previously required for applicants who needed additional vetting such as those who had been to countries controlled by terrorist groups.

The department reportedly said: “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”

The said proposal was estimated to affect 14.7 million people annually.

An official who spoke to The Hill said that those who will be found lying about their social media use will face “serious immigration consequences.”

Civil rights group American Civil Liberties Union however said that there is no evidence about the effectiveness and fairness of the social media monitoring and would cause people to self-censor online.

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