The Department of Home Affairs routinely use social media posts when deciding a visa application, especially in protection visa cases. The Department of Home Affairs officials have instructions and guidelines on how to scrutinise Facebook in protection visa cases. Facebook posts can create credibility issues and can undermine claims, despite the fact that those seeking asylum may never describe the reality of their suffering or persecution online.
Case officers have been instructed to use Facebook as a way to verify someone's identity or claim for a protection visa, as a way to provide insight into the applicant's relationships, memberships, locations and other information. However, case officers are warned to not assume social media is accurate and reliable, although they are permitted to use the information in planning interview lines of questioning.
There is an issue that case officers may not understand how the mechanisms of Facebook and social media in general, and that people are trying to portray and image of themselves that they want people to see, rather than an accurate one. There are concerns that those applying for protection visas are not sufficiently warned that their social media may come under scrutiny, raising issues of procedural fairness.
Individuals applying for visas should be wary that their social media may be scrutinised, and may not be viewed in context. Applicants should be careful about information in their social media profiles.
For more information, please see the link here: https://ab.co/2VwqbBX.
Please contact our office on (02) 9283 5290 for further assistance.