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Chinese visitors to US may be included in social media checks

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-18 07:06

The Trump administration is proposing to include Chinese holders of long-term US business and visitor visas traveling to the US to disclose what social media platforms they use, according to the website Politico.

A traveler would be asked online to identify the platforms. Answering the question would be "optional," US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a notice set for publication on Feb 21 in the Federal Register. Those who don't want to answer will have their travel requests processed "without a negative interpretation or inference," the notice said.

The initial iteration of the program to collect social media handles asked travelers about profiles on sites like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. However, residents of China tend to use other social media platforms.

A CBP spokeswoman had no immediate comment on whether Chinese social media platforms would be included, Politico said.

The move to cover Chinese visitors in the social-media-focused screening comes as Trump administration officials review steps to vet foreigners seeking to enter the US, including asking for social media passwords, Politico said.

It said that the Obama administration used a similar, voluntary, social-media screening effort late last year for travelers eligible to enter the US through the Visa Waiver Program, which includes many European countries and other highly-developed nations.

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