Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley declared on Tuesday that when she is president, she will make anonymity on social media against the law.
The former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations made the bold promise during an appearance on Fox News when she was asked by a voter, “Is there a limit in your opinion to free speech … what are the limits when it threatens the safety of a group of people or incites violence against them?”
Haley answered by drawing a distinction between permitted speech and “pushing violence” and “pushing genocide.”
She then asserted, “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. The second thing is every person on social media should be verified by their name.”
“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. And it gets rid of the Russian bots, the Iranian bots, and the Chinese bots. And then you’re going to get some civility when people know their name is next to what they say, and they know their pastor and their family members are going to see it,” she added.
I've seen the short version of the Nikki Haley wanting everyone on the internet to be verified clip
Have you seen the full context? It makes it worse for Haley 🤣
Mind you she was asked a question on "Are there limits to free speech" And her answer was a long resounding YES pic.twitter.com/uIfjo4eeYO
— Eric Abbenante (@EricAbbenante) November 15, 2023
Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who has increasingly positioned himself as a foil to Haley’s stances, was quick to rip into his rival.
“[Nikki Haley] is *openly* pushing for the government to use private tech companies to censor speech. This is a flagrant violation of the Constitution and straight out of the Democrats’ playbook. 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,” Ramaswamy posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Another of her presidential opponents, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, lectured Haley on the history of the country’s Founding Fathers.
“You know who were anonymous writers back in the day? Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison when they wrote the Federalist Papers,” DeSantis wrote, remarking that neither those historical figures nor their modern counterparts were “national security threats.”
“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.”
Many on social media considered the comments a misstep by the candidate some GOP opponents of frontrunner Donald Trump hoped would become a viable alternative.
Posting the clip, Vince Langman commented, “100 years from now, this clip will be shown in political history classes with the title: ‘How Nikki Haley destroyed her political career in 37 seconds.’”
Though most X users were staunchly opposed to Haley on this topic, she did have some defenders on the platform.
Keith Moulton argued that Haley’s ideas should not be dismissed off-hand, stating, “Absolutely hate to defend Nikki Haley, but this particular snippet isn’t awful. It’s entirely reasonable for social media companies to know their customers and discourage anonymity. Remember, the newspapers and printers knew who the writers of the Federalist Papers, etc. were.”