After her recent comments regarding online anonymity and national security drew intense backlash, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is attempting to shed light on her perspective.
Haley’s initial remarks, made during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, proposed the elimination of online anonymity and advocated for mandatory identity verification of all social media users and the requirement of real names. She expressed her concerns about online anonymity being a “national security threat” and suggested that hate speech and antisemitism can be curbed by forcing everyone to be verified on social media.
In a Wednesday interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box,” Haley was asked to clarify her comments and she emphasized that her primary concern is foreign interference and the spread of misinformation.
Citing countries like Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea, she pointed out that these nations exploit the anonymity of the internet to wage information warfare. Haley argued that requiring social media companies to verify users’ identities would help mitigate these issues.
“Look at what happened with Israel. You want to know where all this pro-Hamas information is coming from? It is coming from foreign actors that are sowing chaos and division,” she stated.
Implying that life would be more “civil” if people were not allowed to post on social media anonymously, Haley further claimed that she doesn’t oppose anonymous Americans having free speech.
“What I don’t like is anonymous Russians and Chinese and Iranians having free speech,” she asserted.
Haley’s proposal on Tuesday, in which she said social media users should be verified by real names, faced criticism from many social media users, including two of her GOP presidential rivals. “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,” she had said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis struck down the idea as dangerous and declared that it would not gain traction in his administration.
Drawing a historical parallel, he tweeted, “You know who were anonymous writers back in the day? Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison 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,”
You know who were anonymous writers back in the day? Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison 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… https://t.co/YkAGMhUVCX
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) November 15, 2023
Pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy echoed DeSantis’ sentiment, tweeting, “Alexander Hamilton, John Jay & James Madison wrote the Federalist Papers under pseudonym. Here’s what they would say to @NikkiHaley if they were alive: get your heels off my neck & go back to England.”
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay & James Madison wrote the Federalist Papers under pseudonym. Here’s what they would say to @NikkiHaley if they were alive: get your heels off my neck & go back to England. https://t.co/cyHZXrWGcF
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) November 15, 2023