According to Buzzfeed News, last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a document that outlines its newest rules for collecting information on U.S. immigrants and naturalized citizens.

The new rules state that the DHS will now add the "social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information and search results" to the files of all U.S. immigrants and naturalized citizens.

Security experts believe that the social media information gathering will also affect U.S. citizens who talk to non-nationals through online channels. For instance, if you're sliding into the DMs of say, a Nigerian planning on coming to the U.S., you'll be on the DHS' radar.

Privacy experts fear that this will cause U.S. citizens to stop speaking freely on social media, for fear that the DHS might read a tweet or Facebook post and begin to investigate them as a domestic terrorist.

A lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Adam Schwartz, told Buzzfeed that these new rules are par for the course. "We see this as part of a larger process of high-tech surveillance of immigrants and more and more people being subjected to social media screening."

Schwartz added, "There's a growing trend at the Department of Homeland Security to be snooping on the social media of immigrants and foreigners and we think it's an invasion of privacy and deters freedom of speech."

Gizmodo and internet users everywhere (although maybe not Jeff Sessions) wanted to know if the DHS thought that social media intelligence gathering crossed any First Amendment lines.

As you can probably guess, the DHS said, "Nope!"

“This … does not represent a new policy," a DHS spokesperson said, "DHS, in its law-enforcement and immigration-process capacity, has and continues to monitor publicly-available social media to protect the homeland."

So, apparently, as Edward Snowden is always saying, we've been being watched for a while.

DHS officials said that they're telling everyone about all of this now "in an effort to be transparent" and "to comply with existing regulations."

Analysts believe that this program began under the Obama administration, perhaps in response to the San Bernardino shooting in 2015. Tashfeen Malik, one of the shooters, and his wife, both engaged in radical talk on social media before the shooting happened.

The hope is that by monitoring the social media presence of immigrants and naturalized citizens, the DHS can stop a terrorist attack before it happens.

The experts Buzzfeed spoke to aren't so sure that's how things work in real life.

"It's very difficult to successfully use social media to determine what people are going or not going to do," Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s liberty and national security program said. "When you look at all the different ways in which we use communication tools, and social media is pretty different, very truncated. People use emojis, they use short form, sometimes it’s difficult to know what something means."

Patel was also concerned with what the government is going to do with the information that it collects.

"The question is do we really want the government monitoring political views?" Patel said. "Social media may not be able to predict violence but it can certainly tell you a lot about a person's political and religious views."

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, an assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, shared that concern.

"Folks might share a post on social media that seems ripe for government officials to use as the hook for a conversation that starts to resemble an ideological purity test," García Hernández said.

And García Hernández is also worried about the First Amendment.

"Having government oversight with the potential for life-changing adverse consequences when it comes to social media use by prospective immigrants is a pretty direct affront to the longstanding promotion of free speech that's at the core of the U.S. constitution," García Hernández added.

The concerns of experts, analysts and the public may not matter, however. The DHS is set to put these guidelines into full effect on October 18, 2017.