Republican primary contender Nikki Haley has sparked backlash after proposing that her administration would introduce identity verification for all social media users. Haley, who worked as the US ambassador to the United Nations, is currently third in opinion polls behind Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.
In an appearance on Fox News, Haley announced: “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 added: “The second thing is every person on social media should be verified by their name.” In the same interview, she accused foreign countries of facilitating the spread of misinformation online and thus dividing the American population on political matters.
Haley claimed: “If you look at social media, the misinformation and the dramatic sides of social media are instigating this. Why? Because it’s being pushed by Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.”
National Security Threat
Haley insisted that her policies would counter the “national security threat” posed by social media bots and anonymous accounts. She suggested that after introducing verification measures, “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.”
Bringing Back Civility
“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,” Haley concluded.
Fellow 2024 election GOP contender, Vivek Ramaswamy, was highly critical of Haley’s plan. He posted to X: “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.”
One of Haley’s campaign representatives has retaliated, however, deeming her proposals “common sense” in a comment given to Business Insider. “We all know that America’s enemies use anonymous bots to spread anti-American lies and sow chaos and division within our borders. 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,” the representative continued.
An Ironic Stance
Many people called out the irony of Haley, who is part of the supposed party of small government, calling for such a policy to be implemented. “Remember when people said that Republicans are small government?” one online forum commenter wrote.
“Republicans Hate Freedom”
Another poster declared: “Republicans hate freedom. This video is just a reminder, in case you needed one.” Another proclaimed, “The amount of power these people think they deserve to wield over you is nuts.”
Sinister Secret Plans
Many felt that Haley was gradually revealing her authoritarian nature and desire to restrict freedoms on a federal level. “She’s a horrible NeoCon pushing for an unconstitutional surveillance state,” one poster speculated.
Haley’s Approach to War
Several forum members boiled Haley’s ideology down to two things: big government and foreign intervention. One person said: “Nikki Haley is an embarrassing ghoul whose only principle is giving more power to the government,” before later adding “She is great… for big government. She’s also great for warmongerers, so I won’t be shocked if she winds up as the nominee.”
Infringing on Human Rights
Multiple commenters called out Haley’s proposal as a human rights violation. One claimed that “historically governments saying give up your privacy for your protection has always been the rallying point of authoritarians,” whereas another noted that “privacy rights are the first line of defense against an authoritarian corrupt government.”
Someone else stated: “She’s very dangerous because she has no moral compass and she’s appealing to a large segment of the electorate.” Others disagreed that Haley has encountered success in attracting supporters due to the relatively small percentage of the poll vote that she currently holds.
Unlikely to Work
Several forum users noted that regardless of their personal opinions on Haley’s idea, it likely would not work anyway. One person explained: “Just like how foreign hackers commit ID theft and bank fraud, they’ll set up bot accounts with stolen data. Very braindead take.”
Haley’s Lack of Expertise
Others called Haley out for proposing a policy on an issue where she does not possess expertise. “Politics in a nutshell: make promises about things you know nothing about and f— whoever has to live with the unintended consequences,” one contributor complained.
Doubting Haley’s Chances
Though users expressed distaste for Haley’s plan, they were not concerned about it ever being enacted due to the slim chances of Haley winning the Republican nomination for the 2024 election. One commenter simply proclaimed: “Lol, she’ll never be president.”
“She has no path to the White House,” someone else agreed. “If Trump doesn’t get the nomination, DeSantis will,” they continued, concluding that if either drops out of the race, the other will absorb their opponent’s votes.