The new rule was published in the Federal Register last week, stating that DHS wants to include "social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information and search results" in immigrant files. The requirement is set to take effect on Oct. 18.
The news was first reported by BuzzFeed News, who also noted that the new rule would affect U.S. citizens communicating with immigrants on social media by labeling their conversations as a part of government surveillance.
Back in February, the Office of Inspector General published a report that revealed DHS pilot programs for using social media to screen immigration applicants had an insufficient amount of criteria to provide its effectiveness.
The report states, "Although the pilots include some objectives, such as determining the effectiveness of an automated search tool and assessing data collection and dissemination procedures, it is not clear DHS is measuring and evaluation the pilots' results to determine how well they are performing against set criteria."