Hey Nikki Haley: Hands off our anonymous online speech

ANONYMOUS EDITOR’S UPDATE (Nov. 16, 2023): In an appearance on CNBC, Nikki Haley appeared to partially walk back comments suggesting social media companies should prohibit anonymous posting, which she had called a “national security threat.” When asked about her remarks and how such a plan would violate the First Amendment, Haley clarified: “I don’t mind anonymous American people having free speech. What I don’t like is anonymous Russians and Chinese and Iranians having free speech.” Haley did not elaborate on how social media companies would identify and separate users from foreign nations or address how her proposal could endanger users living under oppressive foreign regimes.

Statement from FIRE Director of Advocacy Aaron Terr:

Nikki Haley told Fox News that anonymous online speech is a “national security threat.” We must all be wary of compromising core freedoms by giving politicians a blank check to water them down any time they invoke “national security.” Anonymous speech — whether the Founders writing the Federalist Papers or any one of us writing under an anonymous Twitter account — is core protected expression. Democracy relies on free speech to function and the ability to speak anonymously gives all of us the breathing room to weigh in on sensitive topics. Prohibiting anonymous online speech poses a greater threat to participation in our democracy — and thus, national security — than Nikki Haley and other politicians who would join her call may realize. 


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