Visa Candidates Subject to Social Media Screening


Visa Candidates Subject to Social Media Screening

Imagine being judged by the sum of all your social media stories.

Sound a little intimidating?

In business, social media screening is not an option ClearStar recommends. (It’s difficult to involve social media in a way that doesn’t violate legal and ethical boundaries.)

But social media will now be part of the screening process for some visa candidates entering the United States.

Approved this summer, the new measure asks candidates to supply up to five years of social media handles. They can also be asked to supply past email addresses and phone numbers, as well as work and travel history.

Sounds pretty in-depth, doesn’t it?

The State Department says this in-depth screening would apply only to those requiring “additional scrutiny.” They say that’s about .5 percent of visa candidates or about 65,000 people.

Critics of all types had plenty to say about the new screening. Most argue it could cause major delays, snag innocent victims, or discourage international students or scientists from coming to the country.

It’s also hard to ignore what the headlines have said about the role social media plays in terrorism and spreading its message. It’s not hard to find examples even in the United States. One of the terrorists in San Bernadino raised red flags on social media and then made it through the visa process; social media played a different, but equally major role in the Orlando shooting.

In the wake of recent attacks in London and elsewhere, tech giants have promised to do more. Facebook pledged to hire an extra 3,000 people to help delete “hateful” content; they reportedly delete 66,000 posts a week.

But with 2.3 billion social media users across the globe, screeners — whether public or private — have a full-time job ahead of them.

Is background screening for your business starting to feel like an overwhelming job? It doesn’t have to. Contact ClearStar today!


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