In a bid to step up screening of foreign visitors and immigrants, the United States government has required the social media names of people applying for visas.
According to a state department official, the development, which was first announced last year and taking effect this month, follows on a 2017 order by President Donald Trump requiring heightened vetting for visa applicants.
An estimated 14 million travelers and 710,000 immigrants to the U.S. each year will be affected by the changes, according to notes in the Federal Register.
The official stated that national security is the top priority and every would-be traveler or immigrant already faced screening, including requirements to list their travel history, family member information, and previous addresses.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union had opposed the proposal, arguing the questions would create “an environment ripe for profiling and discrimination.