Florida’s DeSantis signs one of the nation’s most restrictive social media bans on minors

(Joe Burbank/Associated Press)

Florida’s DeSantis signs one of the nation’s most restrictive social media bans on minors


March 25, 2024

Florida will have one of the nation’s most restrictive social media bans on minors if it can withstand expected legal challenges under a bill signed by Republicans


Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday.

The bill bans social media accounts for children under the age of 14 and requires parental consent for 15- and 16-year-olds. It was toned down slightly from a proposal vetoed by DeSantis earlier this month, a week before the annual legislative session ended.

The new law was Republican Chairman Paul Renner’s top legislative priority. It will come into effect on January 1.

A child in their brain development does not have the ability to know that they are being sucked into these addictive technologies and to see the damage and step away from them, and that is why we need to intervene on their behalf, Renner said at the meeting. signing ceremony held at a school in Jacksonville.

The bill vetoed by DeSantis would have banned minors under the age of 16 from popular social media platforms, regardless of parental consent. But before the veto, he worked out compromise language with Renner to address the governor’s concerns, and the Legislature sent DeSantis a second bill.

Several states have considered similar legislation. In Arkansas, a federal judge in August blocked enforcement of a law that required parental consent for minors to create new social media accounts.

Advocates in Florida hope the bill will withstand legal challenges because it would ban social media formats that rely on addictive features like notification alerts and autoplay videos, rather than their content.

Renner said he expects social media companies to sue the second day after this is signed. But you know what? We’re going to beat them. We were going to beat them and never stop.”

DeSantis also acknowledged that the law will be challenged on First Amendment grounds, and lamented the fact that the Stop Woke Act he signed into law two years ago was recently rejected by a Republican-majority appeals court appointed judges. They ruled that it violated free speech by banning private companies from including discussions about racial inequality in employee training.

“Anytime I see a bill and I don’t think it’s constitutional, I veto it,” said attorney DeSantis, who expressed confidence that the social media ban will be upheld. Not only have we satisfied me, but we have also, I think, satisfied a fair application of the law and the Constitution.

The bill passed both chambers of the Florida Legislature overwhelmingly, with some Democrats joining the majority of Republicans in support of the measure. Opponents argued that it is unconstitutional and that the government should not interfere in decisions parents make with their children.

This bill goes too far in taking away parents’ rights, Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani said in a news release. Rather than banning access to social media, it would be better to provide better parental control tools and better access to data to stop bad actors, along with major investments in Florida’s mental health systems and programs.


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