Almost everyone applying for a US visa will be asked to list their social media accounts before being granted entry, under proposals put forward by Donald Trump’s administration.
Applicants will be required to submit details of any accounts held in the preceding five years on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
An estimated 14.7 million people a year would be affected by the move, which includes submissions for both immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
Those countries with visa-free travel to America, such as Britain, would not be affected but non-exempt countries such as China, India and Mexico would be hit.
The proposal was made by the US state department and submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, which has 60 days to decided whether to approve.
It comes after Mr Trump talked up the need for “extreme vetting” at America’s borders during his successful 2016 election campaign.
The Trump administration had already announced including it would roll out the request on applications for immigrant visas – meaning those for foreigners who wish to live in the US.
This change would expand the checks to non-immigrant visas, those issued to people visiting the US temporarily whose countries do not have a visa-free agreement.
Applicants would also be asked for their email addresses, telephone numbers and travel history over the last five years as well as whether they have ever been deported.
Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union said: “People will now have to wonder if what they say online will be misconstrued or misunderstood by a government official.
“We’re also concerned about how the Trump administration defines the vague and over-broad term ‘terrorist activities’ because it is inherently political and can be used to discriminate against immigrants who have done nothing wrong.”
The state department said in a statement: “Maintaining robust screening standards for visa applicants is a dynamic practice that must adapt to emerging threats.
“We already request limited contact information, travel history, family member information, and previous addresses from all visa applicants.
“Collecting this additional information from visa applicants will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity.”
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