Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said during an interview this week that one of the first things that she would do if elected as president is force social media companies to verify the identity of all users online and require everyone to use their real names.
Haley made the remarks during an interview with Harris Faulkner when a voter asked Haley about the surge in anti-Semitism throughout the U.S. on the streets, on college campuses, and online.
The voter asked Haley what the limits should be on free speech “when it threatens the safety of a group of people or incites violence against them.”
Haley said that Americans were “blessed” to have free speech and argued that pushing for “violence” and “genocide” were not examples of constitutionally protected free speech.
Haley said that the reason that there has been a massive uptick in anti-Semitism is because “the misinformation and the dramatic sides of social media are instigating this.” She specifically said that it was being pushed by Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
“When I get into office, the first thing we have to do, social media accounts, social media companies, they have to show America their algorithms, let us see why they’re pushing what they’re pushing,” she said. “The second thing is, every person on social media should be verified by their name. That’s, first of all, it’s a national security threat.”
“When you do that, all of a sudden, people have to stand by what they say,” she continued. “And it gets rid of the Russian bots, the Iranian bots, and the Chinese bots. And then you’re gonna get some civility when people know their name is next to what they say and they know their pastor and their family members gonna see it. It’s going to help our kids and it’s going to help our country.”
NEW – Nikki Haley Says Allowing People to Post on Social Media Anonymously is a 'National Security Threat’
"Every person on social media should be verified by their name…It gets rid of the Russian bots, the Iranian bots, and the Chinese bots"pic.twitter.com/C6GoT7n1cN
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) November 14, 2023
Haley later reiterated her stance during a podcast interview, saying that social media companies need “to verify every single person.”
“And I want it by name,” she said, later suggesting to one of the co-hosts who uses a pseudonym online that he should use the name on his driver’s license. “I want everybody’s name.”
NEW – Nikki Haley: "I want everybody's name."pic.twitter.com/q53K690SC0
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 14, 2023
Haley’s proposal was met with pushback online, including from fellow Republican presidential candidates Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy.
The Florida governor noted that Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison were anonymous when they wrote the Federalist Papers. “They were not ‘national security threats,’ nor are the many conservative Americans across the country who exercise their Constitutional right to voice their opinions without fear of being harassed or canceled by the school they go to or the company they work for,” DeSantis wrote in a post on X. “Haley’s proposal to ban anonymous speech online — similar to what China recently did — is dangerous and unconstitutional. It will be dead on arrival in my administration.”
Ramaswamy called Haley’s plan a “flagrant violation of the Constitution and straight out of the Democrats’ playbook,” adding, “Any politician who thinks it’s OK for the government to use the private sector as its censorship bureau shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House.”
Haley’s campaign defended her proposal in a statement to the press, calling it “common sense.”
“We all know that America’s enemies use anonymous bots to spread anti-American lies and sow chaos and division within our borders,” her campaign told the New York Post. “Nikki believes social media companies need to do a better job of verifying users so we can crack down on Chinese, Iranian, and Russian bots. That’s common sense.”