DeSantis casts doubt on social media ban

A social media ban in Florida for children under 16 is one step closer to reality, after the U.S. state's lower house approved the proposal.
Social media ban in Florida

Legislation to ban children under 16 from using social media has passed a key milestone in the U.S. state of Florida.

The ‘Social Media Use for Minors’ bill passed the House of Representatives (lower house) with support from both major parties. It’s now progressed to the Republican-controlled Senate.

The legislation will also need the approval of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who has expressed some concerns about the proposal.

Social media ban in Florida

The legislation was introduced by both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

It aims to protect children from harmful content that could compromise their development or cause mental ill-health.

It follows concerns about the “addictive“ design features of some apps. One House member referred to social media as “digital fentanyl”.

Under the draft law, children under 16 would be banned from using social media platforms.

Platforms would be required to verify the age of all users, ban any underage users from creating new accounts, and delete the accounts of anyone it “reasonably” believes is under 16.

The draft includes penalties for social media platforms that fail to comply with rules to protect children.

Interactive gaming or professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, wouldn’t be included in the ban.

DeSantis’ response

The legislation will need approval from the Florida Senate before being reviewed by Governor DeSantis, who has the power to veto the bill.

While yet to formally offer a position on the draft law, DeSantis has voiced concerns about a blanket social media ban on children under 16. He said it could create “legal issues”, especially if a minor has approval from a parent or guardian to use social media.

If passed in its current form, the draft law will come into effect in July.

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