The US Wants To Know What You Share On Social Media Before Granting You A Visa – Implications and Significance

Photo credit: The Odyssey Online

As part of the latest US immigration policy, social media background checks has now been approved by the U.S. government’s Office of Management and Budget  making it one the new requirements for visa applicants.

Now before you start to fidget about some of your posts on social media, what does this new development really mean?

Well for starters, if you plan on visiting America for whatever reason, you should be ready to give full disclosure of all your social media accounts and that includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the likes of them.

So far, the new development has received a lot of backlash from critics who say that it is just an obstacle the US is putting in the way of intending visitors.

Social media has become a huge part of our lives and there are also the group of people who do not even have a life outside of social media. We share almost everything on social media, from big announcements to our perspective on issues affecting us. We share the good, the bad and the ugly. Isn’t it only right for the US to want to know about this aspect of our lives? Afterall, Visa questionnaires and interviews are conducted to know more about an intending visitor and the purpose of visit.

This is not to say that we need to put a censorship on what we share online but instead get a better understanding of how social media works. Before signing up to any social network, there are terms and conditions we must agree to. The wise thing to do would be to carefully read those terms and conditions and decide if we are comfortable with its content before clicking agree. If you do find certain contents of any terms and conditions unsettling, you are at liberty not to join such network. If you wouldn’t sign a contract without reading then why would you agree to terms and conditions you have absolutely zero knowledge of?

Quite understandably, some social networks are almost indispensable for business and general day to day lives – the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook. In such cases, you can actually control what people see and who sees what you share through the privacy setting. It is your social media account, take charge of it.

The US authorities would also need to be fair in its judgement of people based on what they share online as we are only humans. The fact that someone parties all weekend doesn’t make them any less of a serious minded individual. There needs to be a fair judgement on the conclusion of the background checks conducted on people’s social media accounts. Should you really be denied a visa simply because you have a contradicting view of Trump’s policies? All these points to the fact that there is freedom of speech but freedom after speech is not gauranteed.

It is however disclosed that this information will only be required when there is a need to conduct national security vetting on an intending visitor. So except you are a threat to national security, you have nothing to fear.

In the near future, it is expected that social media background checks will become a necessity during recruitment of employees into a company and even enrollment into institutions.

It’s not just social media anymore guys. Retweets might not be endorsements but you are you tweets, you are what you share online. If you have the American dream and you feel Trump might not be too happy with your Facebook post, then think twice before clicking send.

 

 


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