Nikki Haley sparked a firestorm on Tuesday by saying that the way to reduce antisemitism and misinformation online was to force social media users to reveal their true identity – a proposal some said was fascist.
Haley appeared on Fox News, and was asked what she would do to combat hate speech online.
She said the social media companies must do more to combat fake accounts, trolls and bots.
‘Anti-Semitism was always bubbling underneath the surface, but now we’re seeing this massive exaggeration of it, but no one is talking about why,’ she said.
Nikki Haley on Tuesday said she would end anonymity on social media
Haley said ending anonymity would make social media users more civil, and reduce the spread of hate speech
She said she would prioritize making social media companies lift the lid on their users.
‘When I get into office, the first thing we have to do: 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.’
She said it was ‘a national security threat’ to allow anonymous accounts.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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 member’s gonna see it. It’s gonna help our kids and it’s gonna help our country.’
Her proposal was met with howls of outrage on all sides, with journalist Yashar Ali saying it was ‘an outrageous and dangerous proposal’.
He added: ‘It’s the kind of change that a fascist demands but she’s doing it under the guise of civility and getting rid of bots.
‘What this sort of change will get rid of is Iranian, Chinese, and Russian dissidents. The brave people who speak out and organize against authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.’
Her Republican rivals for the presidency, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, also condemned the idea.
DeSantis, who has seen Haley close in on him for second place behind Donald Trump, said it was ‘dangerous and unconstitutional’.
The Florida governor said: ‘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.’
Ramaswamy accused Haley of promoting censorship.
‘@NikkiHaley is *openly* pushing for the government to use private tech companies to censor speech,’ he said.
‘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.’
Charlie Kirk, founder of the pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA, said that anonymity was a vital aspect of free speech.
‘Nikki Haley says ‘every person on social media should be verified by name’ for the sake of ‘national security.’
‘Nice try, Nikki. Anonymous speech is a core part of free speech — which the founders would know, since many of them (including Alexander Hamilton and James Madison) wrote anonymously.’