The process that you must go through to obtain a U.S. visa is constantly undergoing revision and changes. The most recent changes involve a new requirement: for you to provide your social media accounts. This can include profile handles and online names as requested.
The officials of the U.S. Border Control can then review any information that you have posted online as a means of further vetting visa applicants. But what does this requirement mean for you?
Reasons for collection
CNN discusses the collection of social media names on your application for a visa. The official reviewing your application can then use this information to look up information that you have posted online, including opinions, conversations, criticisms, photographs and anything else visible to the public. They use this information to determine whether or not you may pose a threat to national security, or if you seem likely to commit a crime or otherwise cause disturbances. They can refuse to accept your application based on this alone.
What they look at
The period of time they can survey your accounts goes back up to five years, meaning anything you have written in that period of time may end up scrutinized. They use automated programs to search for keywords and other crucial information, which can dig up things from years ago that you no longer remember posting. Even if it no longer reflects your current opinions, religion, lifestyle or viewpoint, it could still end up used against you.
Due to the new and tricky angle, this could cause, you may want to consider seeking legal help before tackling your application. They can give you advice on how to manage social media before applying.