Ron DeSantis Signs A New Bill Banning Social Media for Minors 

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new legislation that imposes stringent social media restrictions for minors. The state of Florida is now going to have one of the most restrictive social media bans in the U.S. for minors.

The law will come into effect if it can withstand all the legal challenges that may arise.

No social Media Account for Kids Under 14

Under the new law, kids under the age of 14 will not be allowed to create social media accounts online. Kids who are 14 and 15 years of age would require parental consent to create accounts on social media platforms.

Source: Pexels

Under this new law, social media companies will be expected to delete the accounts of users who are under 14 years of age. Any company that fails to comply can be sued and children may be entitled as much as $10,000 in damages.

DeSantis Said He Is Trying to Help Parents

Governor DeSantis said, “Ultimately, [we’re] trying to help parents navigate this very difficult terrain that we have now with raising kids, and so I appreciate the work that’s been put in.”

Source: Wikimedia/Tom Williams

Companies found to be in violation of the law can be levied with a penalty of $50,000 for each incidence of violation.

The Bill May Come in Effect Next Year

The bill will likely come into effect next year on January 1. However, it is anticipated that there will be legal challenges.

Source: Pexels

Under the new law, individuals will have the right to contest the closure of their account within a 90 day period if they believe they have been mistakenly identified as being underage.

Parents Will Be Able to Get Their Children’s Accounts Closed

Parents in Florida will also be able to request social media companies to close their children’s account.

Source: Pexels

The companies will have to perform the closure within a 10 day period from the date of request.

DeSantis Believes The New Law Will Help Ensure Children’s Safety

DeSantis believes the new law will help parents ensure the safety of their kids from online predators.

Source: Freepik

DeSantis said, “You can have a kid in the house, safe, seemingly, and then you have predators that can get right in there into your own home. You can do everything right and they know how to manipulate these platforms.”

House Bill 3 Is A Revised Version of a Previous Bill

The new House Bill 3 is a lighter toned down version of a previous bill that DeSantis had vetoed earlier this month.

Source: Pexels

Besides posing restrictions on social media usage, the bill also seeks to prevent minors from accessing adult websites. Users will have to verify their age to access adult websites.

Age Verification Will be Required

The companies that will be impacted by this bill will be required to use third-party software for age verification. This might entail requiring users to submit facial scans and government IDs.

Source: Pexels

PornHub had to suspend its services in Texas when an age verification law was implemented in the state.

The Bill Was Paul Renner’s Top Priority

The bill has been the highest of Republican State House Speaker Paul Renner. The bill signing was done at a Jacksonville school.

Source: Pexels

Renner said during the ceremony, “A child in their brain development doesn’t have the ability to know that they’re being sucked into these addictive technologies and to see the harm and step away from it, and because of that we have to step in for them.”

Previous Version of the Bill

The bill that DeSantis vetoed required the state to take far more stringent measures than what is contained within the current version of the bill. The previous bill required banning social media usage for any user under the age of 16 even if the parental consent had been granted.

Source: Pexels

Before vetoing the bill, DeSantis and Renner arrived at a mutual agreement to implement revisions that would allay the governor’s concerns. The legislature later sent DeSantis a revised bill that was finally signed.

Renner is Expecting Retaliation From Social Media Companies

Renner said he has been expecting social media companies to “sue the second after this is signed.”

Source: Pexels

Renner is prepared to counteract such retaliations. He said, “But you know what? We’re going to beat them. We’re going to beat them and we’re never, ever going to stop.”

Free Speech Rights

DeSantis recognizes that the new law is likely going to be challenged on the grounds of free speech rights that fall under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. DeSantis is certain that the bill will withstand legal challenges.

Source: Pexels

DeSantis said, “Any time I see a bill, if I don’t think it’s constitutional, I veto it… We not only satisfied me, but we also satisfied, I think, a fair application of the law and constitution.”

Khara Boender Expressed Her Concerns

Khara Boender, a state policy director for the Computer & Communications Industry Association, stated her concerns regarding the new law.

Source: Pexels

Boender recognizes the governor’s concern for the online safety of  minors but she is also confirm if the law will be able to “effectively accomplish those goals without violating the First Amendment rights of younger users.”

Problems That Can Arise

Boender believes it will be difficult to implement the law without infringing the rights of youngster who are use the internet for information.

Source: Pexels

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

Anna Eskamani Criticizes the Bill

Democratic State House Representative Anna Eskamani criticized the bill in a news release, “This bill goes too far in taking away parents’ rights.”

Source: Pexels

Eskamani said, “Instead of banning social media access, it would be better to ensure improved parental oversight tools, improved access to data to stop bad actors, alongside major investments in Florida’s mental health systems and programs.”

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

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