Will Trump kill tourism, by demanding social media passwords?

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Image Credit: Michael Sloan, The Christian Science Monitor

 

By: Tiffany Ditto 

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that they may be requiring visitors to provide their social-media account passwords to government officials, NBC News reported. A move that the administration said will help prevent terrorism, but one that raises questions for the tourism industry, and if the administration is made up of officials with a sound mind.

The Homeland Security Administration is considering this among other measures to vet refugees, visa applicants, and those with passports from seven typically Muslim countries. The administration claims by having the passwords of these individuals they will have access to what they say and do on social media. After ISIS’ successful social-media recruitment tactics, it’s no wonder the administration is concerned.

However, large percentages of people who subscribe to the Muslim faith disapprove of actions taken by radical Islam. In 2014, the Pew Research Center found that only three percent of Pakistani Muslims support suicide bombings in the name of Islam. The same survey found the country with the highest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia, overwhelmingly (89 percent) said that forms of violence against civilians are rarely or never justified.

Likewise. People Magazine found that in all the major terrorist attacks dating back to 9/11, only two terrorists came from Trump’s seven banned Muslim countries.

So if Trump’s strict regulations, and demands for social media accounts, won’t prevent terrorism, what will they do? The answer is simple: impact U.S. tourism revenue. Foreign tourists were responsible for $199 billion worth of economic revenue for 2015, making up nine percent of exports for that year.

To look at how tougher travel restrictions affect the United States, one can turn to the 10-year-period after 9/11. Overseas travel to the U.S. fell by nearly one third, and cost the U.S. economy $500 billion, the Denver Post reported.

If the Trump administration insists on having tighter travel restrictions, requiring the passwords of visitor’s social media accounts should not be one of the criteria. In no way will this prevent terrorism, as many people do not post on social media about their private beliefs. Furthermore, once the visitors are allowed access into the U.S. what is to keep them from changing their passwords?

Trump needs to stop placing so much importance on social media because, he is an adult, not a hormonal teenage girl.

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Video credit: The Huffington Post via YouTube

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism