If you are planning to travel and need a visa, you better clean up your social media accounts or else you can end up in the no-fly list. According to reports, US immigration and border officials check the social media accounts of applicants before they are granted visa. By Swastika Mukhopadhyay

Social media has become a liberal platform for expressing yourself, which sometimes acts as a boon and a bane, too. Apart from the usual entertainment, networking and news, social media has got a new usage — as a medium to verify passengers’ information.

Immigration and border authorities are now using social media to keep an eye on the accounts of people intending to fly abroad. The main purpose of this is to verify the information provided on the application. It also helps the officials to check whether the applicant is a part of or connected to any extremist organisations.

Reports state that the US immigration officials now hold the authority to go through personal devices such as mobile phones and laptops of the travellers, even if there is no suspicion of illegal activity being carried out. The information stored on cloud is off limits and cannot be accessed by the authorities. In cases of potential national threat or criminal activity, the devices can be sent to the forensic lab for further investigation by the authorities.

Many countries like UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa have also adopted the practice of checking the social media accounts of travellers. In fact, Canada follows a strict policy of rejecting applications for permanent residency on the basis on inappropriate content on social media handle.

Thus, the immigration authorities have the power to reject any visa application on the basis of information and data collected from the social media accounts of travellers. In some countries, officials use fake accounts on social media to cross-check the information provided by applicants.

So, you might need to hold in your views and opinions and think twice before posting on the web.

Related: Applying for Australian Visa? It Just Got Easy!