The American Customs and Border Protection has quietly begun to check social media accounts of foreign travelers to try to identify potential threats, according to the website Politico.com. When foreigners arrive in the United States they are asked to provide their social media accounts.
The policy is currently only for travelers that want to enter the U.S. on the visa waiver program. Users can fill in a form where now also social media accounts are asked such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts. Currently filling in social media account details is optional.
The organisation states it, ” wouldn’t prohibit entry to foreigners who didn’t provide their social media account information”. It’s unclear if travelers with suspicious information on their account will be forbidden to enter the U.S.
The American Customs and Border Protection unveiled its draft proposal on checking social media in June. However, the plan was heavily criticized by consumer protection advocates. They considered the plan “posed immense privacy risks, given that social media accounts serve as gateways into an enormous amount of [users’] online expression and associations, which can reflect highly sensitive information about that person’s opinions, beliefs, identity and community”.
Nevertheless, the plan appears to be adopted without any major changes.