U.S. visa applicants to be asked for social media history: State Department

(Reuters) – In a broad expansion of the information gathered from applicants for U.S. visas, the federal government is proposing to collect social media identities from nearly everyone who seeks entry into the United States, according to a State Department filing on Friday.

FILE PHOTO – A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter and a Facebook logo as he poses with a laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The proposal, if approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would require most immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants to list all social media identities they have used in the past five years.

The information will be used to vet and identify them, according to the proposals, which would affect about 14.7 million people annually.

The proposals support President Donald Trump’s promise to institute “extreme vetting” of foreigners entering the United states to prevent terrorism.

Previously, under rules instituted last May, consular officials were instructed to collect social media identifiers only when they determined “that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” a State Department official said at the time.

The State Department said then that the tighter vetting would apply only to those “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national…

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