Florida Bans Social Media For Minors Under 14

March 26, 2024   |   Tags:
Florida Bans Social Media For Minors Under 14

Florida has just passed a new law prohibiting children under 14-years-old from having social media accounts regardless of parental consent.

Governor DeSantis was at the Cornerstone Classical Academy in Jacksonville, FL Monday, March 25, 2024, along with local and state leaders to sign into law Florida House Bill 3. Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Under the law which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2025, social media companies must close accounts they believe to be used by minors under 14 - and must cancel accounts at the request of parents or minors. All information from the accounts must then be deleted, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Minors who are 14 or 15 will be able to obtain a social media account with parental consent. If a parent does not consent, accounts already belonging to teens within that age range must be deleted.

"Being buried in those devices all day is not the best way to grow up—it’s not the best way to get a good education," Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said on Monday during an event to celebrate the signing of the bill.

The new law doesn't name which platforms it applies to, however social media sites which rely on features such as notification alerts and autoplay videos are subject to it.

Supporters of the law have pointed to recent studies linking social-media use among young adults to a higher risk of depression and mental-health challenges. It can also make them vulnerable to online bullying and predators. -WSJ

"A child, in their brain development, doesn’t have the ability to know that they’re being sucked into these addictive technologies, and to see the harm and step away from it," said Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R) at the same event. "And because of that, we have to step in for them."

In response to the law, TikTok says it has policies to protect teens, and will continue to work to keep the platform safe. Snapchat and X didn't respond to a WSJ request for comment.

Other states have seen similar legislation proposed, however the bills all stop short of Florida's total ban. In Arkansas, a federal judge blocked an age verification law for social media users and parental consent for minors' accounts.

In response to the Arkansas law, social media trade association NetChoice, of which Facebook parent Meta, TikTok and Snap, sued the state to halt the law. It has brought similar legal challenges in California and Ohio.

According to NetChoice VP and general counsel Carl Szabo, the Florida law "forces Floridians to hand over sensitive personal information to websites or lose their access to critical information channels," adding "his infringes on Floridians’ First Amendment rights to share and access speech online."

"There are better ways to keep Floridians, their families and their data safe and secure online without violating their freedoms," he added.

Florida expects to be sued over the new law, however Speaker Renner says he's confident it will withstand legal scrutiny.

"We’re gonna beat them, and we’re never, ever gonna stop," he said.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/26/2024 - 20:00


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