Verify: Does DHS monitor the social accounts and search results of all U.S. immigrants?

Yes, but it's nothing new.

QUESTION: 

Does the Department of Homeland Security monitor immigrants' social media and the stuff they search online?

ANSWER:

Yes, but it's nothing new.

SOURCES:

Joanne Talbot, Department of Homeland Security Spokesperson 

"Privacy Policy for Operation Use of Social Media," Department of Homeland Security

Privacy Act of 1974 Notice on November 21, 2013

Privacy Act of 1974 Notice on September 18, 2017 

PROCESS:

Articles are swirling on social media claiming that the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring the social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information and search results...and it's true.

They've been keeping tabs on immigrants' social media since 2012 and have over 30 social media usage policies allowing them to do it.

But the agency's practices stand in the spotlight now because the agency recently upgraded their computer systems--so they updated their paperwork.

"DHS, in its law-enforcement and immigration-process capacity, has and continues to monitor publicly-available social media to protect the homeland," DHS Spokesperson, Joanne Talbot, explained to Verify. "In an effort to be transparent, to comply with existing regulations, and due to updates in the electronic immigration system, DHS decided to update its corresponding Privacy Act system of records."

Social media tracking, DHS says, is primarily for national security, law enforcement and issuing immigrant benefits. 

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