The U.S. now requires all visa applicants to submit their social media details, five years’ worth of email addresses, and phone numbers before obtaining a visa.
In the past, this measure was only used in vetting anyone suspected of connections with terrorist organizations. About 14.7 million people are expected to be affected by this new law annually.
The only exception from this new measure would be diplomatic and official visa applicants. However, those seeking student visa or work visa are not exempted from providing these details.
“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States,” says the State Department. Adding that lying about social media usage could lead to serious consequences.
The Trump administration first proposed this new rule in March 2018, and it was opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights group, who said this could lead to self-censorship.