On May 31, 2019, the Department of State introduced a new DS-160 form and DS-260 form, which expanded the type of data collected from applicants. The applications now requires applicants to list the social media outlets that they have used within the last five years. The forms have a drop-down menu that lists twenty (20) social media accounts, including popular media outlooks like: Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Myspace, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, and other lesser known social media outlets. The applicant completing the application must select and add all applicable social media outlets used and must list the user’s handles/user-names, passwords are not required.
There have been reports that the U.S. government has contracted with private vendors to search for specific data for DHS, which is why it is extremely important that all required data is disclosed as failure to do so could lead in a finding of misrepresentation. Although we have yet to see the impact of the form, there are numerous considerations that we strongly encourage our clients to consider such as: possible findings of misrepresentation, further review, additional security checks, and etc.