Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill that bans children under 14 from having social media accounts

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB3 into law, prohibiting children under 14 from joining social media without parental consent and directing companies to delete existing accounts for those under 14. Minors aged 14 or 15 will need parental permission to join. The bill imposes fines on companies failing to comply, with potential damages of up to $10,000 for affected minors and fines of up to $50,000 per violation.

DeSantis had vetoed a stricter version of the bill previously. HB3 is set to take effect in January 2025. It reflects increasing efforts nationwide to regulate social media, driven by concerns over child safety and mental health. However, it is likely to face legal challenges, with critics arguing it violates the First Amendment.

Proponents, including Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, assert the law is necessary to protect children from potential harm associated with social media use. Renner emphasized the focus on addictive features rather than content censorship. Despite anticipated legal battles, both DeSantis and Renner are confident in the bill’s constitutionality and its potential to safeguard minors online.

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