Former South Carolina governor and Republican presidential primary candidate Nikki Haley stirred the political pot by advocating for the verification of social media users by their real names this week. 

The former UN ambassador believes that this move could eliminate the presence of Russian, Chinese, and Iranian bots on these platforms, ultimately leading to increased civility in online discourse.

According to her, if she wins her White House bid, the first order of business will be to compel social media companies to reveal their algorithms to the American public. “Let us see why they’re pushing what they’re pushing,” she stated.

She went on to suggest that every individual on social media should be verified by their real name. According to her, the issue is a matter of “national security” and would lead to more accountability online as people know that their name is next to what they say.

“It’s going to help our kids and it’s going to help our country,” she added.

Clearly, a lot of people are not on board with this proposal, as many social media users came for her, including her fellow GOP presidential candidates. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis commented on a post of her statement, arguing that her proposal to ban anonymous speech online is “dangerous and unconstitutional.”

“It will be dead on arrival in my administration,” he added.

DeSantis, in his tweet, drew historical parallels, saying, “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.”

Pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy, another Republican rival, also weighed in with a dose of historical perspective. He tweeted, “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.”

Criticism of Haley’s proposal extended beyond her political opponents, as noted journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “Is Nikki Haley aware that the Federalist Papers were written by founding fathers using pseudonyms? 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.”

Social media users also chimed in, with one individual writing, “She obviously hasn’t had someone try and destroy her job, family or reputation because of her beliefs. Man, is she out of touch,” accompanied by the hashtag, “#neverNikki.”

Another user, Jason Neptune, expressed concerns about the implications for free speech, saying, “Being able to post Anonymously is basically the FINAL obstacle to effectively permanently hobbling Free Speech. Nikki wants War and to purge Populism from the Republican Party. And the Corporate Democrats are friendly to her.”

DeSantis’s rapid response director, Christina Pushaw, added to the chorus of objections, stating, “I am no lawyer, but isn’t this blatantly unconstitutional? Free speech includes anonymous speech.”

The issue of social media regulation, particularly regarding TikTok, has become a contentious topic in the 2024 Republican primary. During the third GOP debate last Wednesday, Haley and Ramaswamy, who is the only GOP candidate on the China-based app, clashed over her daughter’s TikTok usage, with Ramaswamy accusing her of double standards.

“In the last debate, she made fun of me for actually joining TikTok while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time. So you might want to take care of your family first,” the businessman said.

In response, Haley retorted, “Leave my daughter out of your voice. You’re just scum.”