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

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida will have one of the most restrictive in the country social media bans for minors — if it survives expected legal challenges — under a bill signed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday.

The bill would ban social media accounts for children under 14 and require parental permission for 14- and 15-year-olds. He was slightly watered down by DeSantis’ proposal vetoed earlier this monthweek before the end of the annual legislative session.

The new law was Republican Speaker Paul Renner’s top legislative priority. Effective January 1.

“A child in their developing brain doesn’t have the ability to know they’re being sucked into these addictive technologies and see the harm and turn away from it, and because of that we have to step in for them,” Renner said at the bill’s signing ceremony , held at a school in Jacksonville.

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

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

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

Renner said he expects social media companies “to sue the second one once this is signed. But you know what? We will beat them. We will beat them and we will never, ever stop.”

DeSantis also acknowledged that the law would be challenged on First Amendment issues and lamented the fact that the “Stop the Wake Act” he signed two years ago was recently overturned by an appeals court with a majority of Republican-appointed judges. They ruled that it violated free speech rights by prohibiting private businesses from including discussions of racial inequality in employee training.

“Every time I see a bill, if I don’t think it’s constitutional, I veto it,” said DeSantis, an attorney, expressing confidence the social media ban would be upheld. “Not only did we satisfy me, but we also satisfied, I think, the fair application of the law and the Constitution.”

Khara Boender, director of state policy for the Computer and Communications Industry Association, said in a news release that she understands the concern about online safety, but expressed doubt that the law would “significantly achieve those goals without infringing on the First Amendment rights of – young consumers. ”

She also faces a legal challenge.

“This law could create significant obstacles for young people seeking access to online information, a right afforded to all Americans regardless of age,” Bonder said.

The bill passed both chambers by large majorities, with some Democrats joining the majority of Republicans who supported the measure. Opponents argue that this is unconstitutional and the government should not interfere in the decisions parents make with their children.

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


This story has been corrected to show that parental permission is required for 14- and 15-year-olds, not 16-year-olds.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *