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U.S. Now Asking Visitors to Divulge Social Media Info

The United States government is now asking foreign visitors to supply links to their social media accounts when they arrive in the country. 

The change applies to those entering the U.S. by way of the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of 38 nations to travel in the country for up to 90 days without a visa. 

Those travelers can opt not to answer the question, but that hasn't forestalled strong criticism of the change from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology. 

When the new question was proposed last summer, the latter organization argued in a statement that asking about visitors' social media presence would "invade individual privacy, burden free expression, and expose particular communities to the risk of undue surveillance or ideological exclusion."

Officials with Customs and Border Protection counter that collecting social media data will help the Department of Homeland Security better investigate threats and dangerous connections.