Ron DeSantis signs bill requiring parental consent for kids to join social media platforms in Florida

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis This creates stricter rules on how children under 16 can use and access social media. To this end, the law completely prohibits the participation of children under the age of 14 on these platforms.

The bill requires 14- and 15-year-olds to have a parent or guardian’s consent to create an account or use a pre-existing account on the social media platform. Additionally, the companies behind these platforms must comply with requests to delete these accounts within five business days. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines of up to $10,000 per violation. Those penalties increase to $50,000 per instance if a company is found to have engaged in a “knowing or reckless” violation of the law.

As previously mentioned, anyone under the age of 14 will no longer be able to create or use social media accounts in Florida. Platforms must delete pre-existing accounts and any associated personal data. The bill does not name any specific social media platforms, but suggests that any service that promotes “endless scrolling,” such as those that feature reaction metrics, live streaming, and autoplay videos, must comply with these new rules. Email platforms are an exception.

It won’t just change kids’ online habits. There’s also a mandatory age-verification component, though this only kicks in if the website or app contains a “substantial amount of material” deemed harmful to users under 18. they must verify their age through a proprietary platform on the site itself or use a third-party system. News agencies are exempt from this part of the bill even if they exceed the material limit.

Obviously, this raises very real privacy issues. No one wants to enter their personal information to view adult content. There is a provision that allows websites to direct users to an “anonymous age verification” system, defined as a third party that is not allowed to store identifying information. Again, any platform that fails to comply with this restriction may be subject to civil penalties of up to $50,000 per instance.

That’s after DeSantis vetoed a similar bill earlier this month. The law would have banned the use of social media apps by minors under the age of 16, and there was no option for parental consent.

NetChoice, the trade association representing social media platforms, , calling it unconstitutional. The group says HB 3 would essentially implement an “Internet ID” and claims the age verification component would need to be expanded to track whether children under 14 sign up for social media apps. NetChoice says “this level of data collection would put the privacy and security of Floridians at risk.”

This was announced by the speaker of the Republican House of Representatives, Paul Renner that “a child with a developing brain does not have the ability to know that they are addicted to these addictive technologies and to see the harm and move away from it. And that’s why we have to take steps for them.”

The new law takes effect on January 1, but may face some legal challenges. Renner said he expects social media companies to “sue the second one after it’s signed,” and DeSantis acknowledged that the law will be challenged on First Amendment issues. .

Florida isn’t the first state to try to separate kids from their screens. A federal judge in Arkansas recently blocked enforcement of a law requiring minors to obtain parental consent to create new social media accounts. Same thing . Similar Law passed in Utah, but was hit by a pair of lawsuits that forced state representatives back to the drawing board. On the federal side of things, the Children in Social Media Protection Act Using social media for children under 18 and yes, there is .

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