US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can now create fake social media accounts to monitor foreign nationals seeking visa, green cards, and citizenship.
USCIS, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, in a policy update released on Friday says the move will make it easier to search for potential evidence of fraud or security concerns as they process a foreigner’s application or determine whether to allow someone into the US.
USCIS added that it will only use fake accounts to “access social media content that is publicly available to all users of the social media platform,” and that that it will not “friend” or “follow” users. The agency also said it does not proactively monitor social media accounts and only uses social media information to investigate existing requests for immigration benefits as part of its background and security check process.
In June, the State Department started requiring applicants for US visas to submit their social media information including usernames.