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DHS will look at your Facebook activity before granting an entry visa

Published Dec 15th, 2015 9:18AM EST
DHS Facebook Visa Application

Revelations following the recent San Bernardino shooting prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to focus on implementing additional security measures for its visa application process. Interestingly, the DHS will now look at social media posts before granting an entry visa to certain individuals.

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The initiative isn’t new as it already operates via three pilot programs, The Wall Street Journal reports, and it’s not clear how fast it can be implemented or what it entails. The pilot programs do not involve reading all social media posts, the Journal said, though government officials have not specified exactly what is analyzed in the process of trying to discover potential threats.

Recent reports have claimed that Facebook and other companies are willing to help the government fight terrorism by effectively censoring certain content. It’s unclear whether Facebook and other social networks will aid the DHS in this particular endeavor.

In the San Bernardino shooting, investigators found that Tashfeen Malik, the wife of Syed Rizwan Farook, who entered the U.S. in 2014 on a K-1 visa, used Facebook under a pseudonym to pledge allegiance to the leader of the Islamic group. She posted the message on the day of the shooting and counterterrorism officials are investigating whether she made similar social media posts in the past.

A K-1 visa is awarded to fiancées of Americans – Malik lived most of her life in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia before moving to the U.S. in 2014. On December 2nd, Malik and Farook killed 14 people in a mass-shooting before being killed in a gunfight with police.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.