Social media surveillance, LGBTQ refugees and asylum

How migration authorities use social media profiles to determine refugees as ‘genuine’ or ‘fraudulent’

  • Rikke Andreassen Roskilde University
Keywords: LGBTQ, asylum, data justice, data governance, LGBTQ refugees, social media.

Abstract

In recent years, social media content has played an increasingly significant role in the legal processing of asylum claims in Europe. This article investigates the role of such content in Danish asylum cases by examining verdicts from the years 2015–2019. In particular, it examines cases relating to LGBTQ refugees (i.e., asylum seekers who claim asylum on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity) and how their credibility — and thus their ability to obtain asylum — is determined, in part, by their social media profiles. The article shows how posts and comments on social media platforms are used to prove (or disconfirm) LGBTQ identity, and how migration authorities expect refugees’ online behaviour to align with their expectations of ‘genuine’ LGBTQ persons. Finally, the article argues that the current use of biometric digital data traces to identify refugees, govern borders and manage migration has been intensified by the application of social media content in asylum proceedings.

Published
2020-12-10
How to Cite
Andreassen, R. (2020). Social media surveillance, LGBTQ refugees and asylum. First Monday, 26(1). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i1.10653