Florida governor signs restrictive social media ban for minors News
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Florida governor signs restrictive social media ban for minors

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed one of the country’s most restrictive social media bans for minors into law on Monday. The law bans social media accounts for children under the age of 14 and requires parental permission for accounts for children between the ages of 14 and 15. The law is set to take effect on January 1, 2025, and is expected to face numerous legal challenges.

In a press release, DeSantis stated that “HB 3 gives parents a greater ability to protect their children. Thank you to Speaker Renner for delivering this landmark legislation.” House Speaker Paul Renner, who heavily advocated for the legislation, added, “The internet has become a dark alley for our children where predators target them and dangerous social media leads to higher rates of depression, self-harm, and even suicide.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida voiced its opposition to the law, stating, “The Constitution is clear. Lawmakers cannot control what ideas and information parents can allow their families to access. This is government overreach.” The ACLU also expressed concern that the law could chill adult speech by requiring age verification.

NetChoice, a political interest industry group that advocates for fewer online restrictions, also opposed the bill. NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo called it “an unconstitutional law will protect exactly zero Floridians. HB 3 is also bad policy because of the data collection on Floridians by online services it will in effect require. This will put their private data at risk of breach.”

The law goes so far as to demand that social media companies delete the existing accounts of those under the age of 14 and residing in Florida. If they fail to do so, the social media company could be sued on behalf of the child for up to $10,000 in damages. Furthermore, companies found to be in violation of the law could be liable for up to $50,000 per violation.

A Federal Appeals Court overturned a similar law in Arkansas.