No longer free speech on social media?


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People always praises that social media provides them an open platform to speak out freely. There are almost no boundaries to what we can post. Thus, people become more and more willing to post their ideas, thoughts and opinions through social media. However, the situation seems to be changed now.

There was a piece of news that shocked a huge amount of people; especially those who want to come to U.S. for traveling or immigration. It said that ‘ “the Department of Homeland Security” is now trying to build tools to more aggressively examine the social media accounts of all visa applicants and those seeking asylum or refugee status in the United States.’ (Reference: U.S. to Further Scour Social Media Use of Visa and Asylum Seekers) What does this news convey? One day in the future, all the posts on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram may be checked by the DHS. In the other word, all the information in our personal accounts is actually tracked by some departments. On the one hand, I can understand this kind of action to some extent. Especially in recent years, the international situation becomes more complex and some terrorist organizations indeed danger the peace of the nations. Checking the social media status to see whether people post ‘legitimate criticism of American foreign policy or express sympathy toward terrorists may be a good approach to screen the refugees and people who want to visit or migrate to the U.S. However, it may not be a very efficient way. Firstly due to the language differences, multiple accounts and usernames do not match the real names; it is not easy to conduct the screening. Secondly, besides the social media, the attackers may also exchange information through other private online messages instead of posting any hints on social media; it is difficult for the DHS to screen the suspect. And more importantly, the screening will definitely arouse dissatisfaction and complaints of the people who just want to come to U.S and it will bring a sense of insecurity for these people.

Besides this news, actually nowadays more and more entities want to check their candidates through social media. For example, companies will visit their potential employees’ social media accounts and universities also start to check their future students’ social media accounts to see if they have had some bad or even illegal behaviors before. Then the companies and universities will make the final decision by including this social media factor. Some reports also reveal that the percentage of the rejections after reviewing the social media of student candidates has increased dramatically these years, up to 40% till 2012.

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One Response to No longer free speech on social media?

  1. sydhavely says:

    I’m wondering how much, if any, of this new policy or policy enforcement was brought about by the suspected terrorists in San Bernardino where the Pakistani woman was vetted before entering the U.S. and who may have posted things that indicated her long-term intentions. Do you know? Important issue and post, ShiTing

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