In June, the State Department introduced new rules that would require almost all U.S. visa applicants to submit their social media information to a list of social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. There have been multiple reports of people refusing to enter the United States to receive WhatsApp messages and social media posts from friends, calling the legal and policy-making director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) “the new normal.”
Making sure you don’t have anything that could turn off potential employers in the future, it seems like you need to find out what your friends are saying too As if growing up on social media wasn’t bad enough.
A Palestinian teenager admitted to Harvard said his friends saw social media posts and denied him entry to the United States Ismail B. Ajjawi, age 17, has received a new Hope Fund graduate scholarship from the nonprofit AMEDAST in the United
States and is scheduled to begin his studies on 3 September. Arriving at Boston Logan International Airport last Friday, he was detained by immigration officials who searched for about five hours through his phone and laptop, he told The Harvard Crimson.
After seeing the social media posts of his friends, not him, they found Ajjawi unacceptable in the United States. “Every time I asked to have my phone back so that I could tell them about the
situation, the officer refused and told me to sit back in my position and not move at all,” Ajjawi wrote in a statement to Harvard Crimson. “Five hours later, he called me into a room and he started yelling at me. He said he posted political
views that were opposed to the United States on my friend list. ”
The teenager told officers he had not made any political positions, and was not responsible for the posts of his friends, but had returned to Lebanon after his deportation.
“The idea that Ajjawi should be barred from Harvard because of his political rhetoric is alarming; he should be denied the opportunity based on the rhetoric of others, which is outright illegal.” “People are barred from entering the country because their friends have criticized the United States on social media for its surprising disregard for free speech policy.” Summer Lopez, senior director of PEN America’s free expression program, said in a statement.
The case is not an isolated incident. In recent weeks, there have been several reports of people being sent to them for pictures and messages by a friend, with the ADC being told that the FBI was even sent to deal with a person after receiving a WhatsApp message from a friend. I don’t like posts, I don’t share or comment, I shouldn’t be held responsible for what others post, Ajjawi stressed. “I have no posts on the timeline for discussing
politics.” The university is working with Ajjawi’s family and authorities to bring him back to America to attend classes. The case raises questions about what the United States considers you responsible for online.