Friday, May 24

Florida’s governor signs social media ban for minors into law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a controversial bill into law that bans certain minors from having social media accounts.

Under HB 3, which won’t take effect until January of next year, children under 14 are prohibited from have their own accounts, while kids 14 and 15 must have parental permission to open an account.

“Being buried in those devices all day is not the best way to grow up. It’s not the best way to get a good education,” DeSantis said Monday during a news conference in Jacksonville.

WATCH: Florida’s governor speaks about social media ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs social media ban for minors into law

Republican House Speaker Paul Renner said the law doesn’t single out any specific social media site by name, only saying the sites in question must have “addictive features” like an algorithm that encourages children to remain on the site for longer periods of time, infinite scrolling, “like” buttons, as well as sites that allow uploading and downloading content.

“We know from law enforcement, we know from our prosecutors that social media is the primary platform in which children are trafficked. In which pedophiles pretending to be children come after our children. And that more crimes against children happen on these platforms than on any other venue. We know that,” Renner said.

READ: Social media ban on minors

Critics have said the law could potentially violate free speech.

In a written statement, Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, said the law “runs contrary to a Supreme Court precedent and tells Florida families how to parent.”

“Though I agree more needs to be done in protecting our youth on social media, this bill goes too far in taking away parents’ rights and banning social media usage — and thus First Amendment Rights — for young Floridians,” 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 Floridas mental health systems and programs.”

Renner on Monday said the law does not target free speech, but instead focuses on addiction and role social media plays in depression, hopelessness, loneliness, thoughts of suicide, self-harm, and body image issues in minors.

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