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New Florida Law Limits Social Media for Children

New Florida Law Limits Social Media for Children

Sarah Hardacre April 24, 2024
April 24, 2024
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed bill HB 3 into law, prohibiting children younger than 14 years old from being social media account holders. Children aged 14 and 15 will require parental consent.

The law will go into effect January 1, 2025, and will require social media platforms to delete accounts and any related personal data of account holders who are under 14. Account holders who are 14 and 15 years old and do not have parental consent will also face the same restrictions.

Platforms will not be able to use the standard self-reporting feature to identify users’ ages but must use a third-party verification system to screen users.

Platforms that delete accounts must inform users and give them 90 days to dispute the removal of their account. Platforms must also provide a means for a parent or guardian to submit requests to delete accounts of their children.

The first draft of the bill passed the Florida legislature in February but never got past Governor DeSantis. This amended version ensures parents and guardians have an opportunity to be involved in decisions related to their children’s social media accounts.

Beyond the regulations regarding social media account holders, the law also protects the ability of Florida-based users to remain anonymous online. It also requires sites that have pornographic or sexually explicit content to implement age verification functionality to ensure children do not have access to inappropriate content.

Governor DeSantis believes “social media harms children in a variety of ways” and that “HB 3 gives parents a greater ability to protect their children.“

House Speaker Paul Renner echoed DeSantis’ concerns. “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.”

Other states, such as Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Ohio, and Utah, have implemented similar legislation. In some instances, they have faced legal challenges. A federal judge blocked Ohio’s law, citing concerns about possible infringement on teens’ First Amendment rights by restricting their access to information online.

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