Prevent State Department From Screening Tourists’ Social Media Accounts

Target: Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan

Goal: Urge the U.S. State Department not to analyze social media accounts belonging to non-immigrant visitors.

According to the U.S. State Department’s newest proposal, tourists from countries like Brazil, China, India and Mexico would need to include their social media screen names on their non-immigrant visa application. With passwords temporarily off the agenda, applicants would still have to hand over five-years worth of information on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and other social media accounts to be scrutinized by American custom officials. Collecting such massive quantities of data signifies the Trump administration’s latest botched attempt to ¨make America great again.¨

Federal authorities viewing 20 social media accounts belonging to approximately 14 million visitors should warrant anxiety on a global level, especially with tensions around invasive U.S. surveillance systems. Now it’s clear that the State Department deliberately wants to make the ¨DS-160¨ application process more strenuous for applicants. Under the false banner of improving national security lies the true intention to discriminate against prospective immigrants. Officials who defend this initiative as a means of preventing terrorism must be reprimanded.


Dear Deputy Secretary Sullivan,

In a recent State Department statement, it mentioned the importance of adapting to ¨emerging threats¨ by installing a robust screening process for visitors. Forcing prospective tourists to share social media data with custom officials won’t make the country any safer, however. On the contrary, this intrusive measure will only vilify the United States and tarnish our international reputation even further. Since citizens from countries like Australia, Britain, France, Germany and Japan would be able to travel freely under the proposed guidelines, it’s evident that this bill will unfairly affect people from poorer countries.

While we understand the importance of identifying online radicalism following the recent San Bernardino terrorist attack in California, invading the privacy of tourists isn’t the best solution. As Trump’s ill-famed appointee, you’re predictably following his anti-immigration agenda in hopes of finding unpatriotic material to use against potential immigrants. Such scrutiny over who enters the country only solidifies our image as an elitist society unwilling to cooperate with the rest of the world. Realize that you’re taking an unnecessary and inherently false precaution to prevent terrorism. Please rethink this measure.


[Your name here]

Photo credit: Jason Howie

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One Comment

  1. Gen Agustsson says:

    stop it! screening social media is not acceptable and it must be stopped. not everyone has a social media.

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