The United States government on updated visa application forms to require nearly all applicants to provide their social media usernames, email addresses, and phone numbers for the past five years. The requirement to provide the additional information is in line with the Donald Trump administration’s decision to ensure more stringent screening of potential immigrants and visitors to the United States. The new policy will affect roughly 15 million US visa applicants around the world every year. More than a million non-immigrant and immigrant US visas are given to Indians every year.
Why some are concerned
Social media is an intricate map of its users’ contacts, associations, habits and preferences. Full information on accounts will give the US government access to a visa applicant’s pictures, locations, birthdays, anniversaries, friendships, relationships, and a whole trove of personal data that is commonly shared on social media, but which many may not like to share with agencies of state.