One might think Nikki Haley’s proposal to force all social media accounts to be verified by name would have a fan in Elon Musk, who’s made his distaste for anonymous users and bots abundantly clear. But in this case, one would be wrong.
Haley called anonymous social media accounts a “national security threat” that she would address on “Day 1” of her presidency in an interview this week with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner. That rather draconian idea was immediately dragged across social media, including the verified account of Musk, who on Tuesday called the proposal “super messed up.”
“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,” Haley said. “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.”
Virtually no one agreed. Newly minted arch-rival Vivek Ramaswamy, who clashed with the fellow GOP hopeful in last week’s Republican presidential debate, called the proposal (which she later doubled down on in an appearance on the “Ruthless” podcast, saying “I want everybody’s name”) “disgusting.”
Musk replied to the tweet on Tuesday, saying “Super messed up. She can stop pretending to run for president now.”
Many users pointed out that the privilege of anonymity — a pillar of the Fourth Estate — can’t be revoked just because modern social media came along. They included fellow GOP contender Ron DeSantis, who noted that Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison wrote the Federalist Papers under protective pseudonyms:
Others went so far as to say that the proposal was so extreme, it may have effectively ended the momentum Haley picked up on the debate stage.
“Is Nikki Haley aware that the Federalist Papers were written by founding fathers using pseudonyms?” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote. “Nikki Haley may be one of the most war-mongering and authoritarian candidates for president in some time. She’s completely unhinged. This is blatantly unconstitutional.”