14.7 Million Visitors to U.S. Face Social Media Screening







AN estimated 14.7 million people will be asked yearly, to submit their social-media user names for the past five years, under proposed rules that the State Department issued Friday.


The figure represents nearly all applicants for a visa to enter the United States.

The Trump administration had last year, announced that applicants for immigrant visas would be asked for social-media data, a proposal that would affect about 710,000 people each year. The new proposal would vastly expand that requirement to cover some 14 million people each year who apply for non-immigrant visas.

The proposal covers about 20 social media platforms. Most of them are based in the United States: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube.

Others are based overseas. They include: the Chinese sites Douban, QQ, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Youku; the Russian social network VK; Twoo, which was created in Belgium; and Ask.fm, a question-and-answer platform based in Latvia.

During his campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump promised “extreme vetting” of people seeking to enter the United States, and last March, the State Department directed consular officers around the world to step up scrutiny of visa applicants.

But the new proposal would add a tangible new requirement for millions of people who apply to visit the United States for work or pleasure, including citizens of such countries as Brazil, China, India and Mexico.

Citizens of roughly 40 countries to which the United States ordinarily grants visa-free travel will not be affected by the requirement. Those countries include major allies like Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

In addition, visitors travelling on diplomatic and official visas will mostly be exempted.



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