Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill that imposes strict regulations on social media usage by minors.

The legislation – known as HB3 and which is aimed at bolstering child safety online – prohibits children under the age of 14 from joining social media platforms altogether, NBC News reports.

Under the provisions of HB3, social media companies are mandated to delete existing accounts of users under the age of 14.

Failure to comply with this directive could result in legal action against the platform, with potential damages of up to $10,000 awarded to affected minors. Moreover, companies found in violation of the law may face penalties of up to $50,000 per infraction, in addition to attorney’s fees and court costs.

Additionally, once children reach the ages of 14 and 15, they must obtain parental consent before creating an account on any social media platform.

Under-14s in Florida will no longer be allowed on social media. Credit: Robert Alexander / Getty

During the bill-signing ceremony, Governor DeSantis emphasized the importance of supporting parents in navigating the complex landscape of raising children in the digital age. He remarked: “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.”

The bill, slated to take effect in January 2025, reflects a broader trend of increased scrutiny and regulation of social media platforms across the United States, driven by concerns over child safety online.

Efforts to address these concerns have gained momentum, with various legislative proposals and congressional hearings focusing on the responsibilities of tech companies in safeguarding minors’ well-being.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the new bill. Credit: Scott Olson / Getty

It comes less than two weeks after the US House of Representatives approved a bill that could force TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to divest from the company — or face a nationwide ban, per Al Jazeera.

And back in January, lawmakers also quizzed CEOs from TikTok, X, and Meta on their measures regarding the safety of children online.

In response to the Florida bill’s signing, Florida House Speaker Paul Renner underscored the potential risks associated with unchecked social media use among youth, citing concerns over its impact on mental health and vulnerability to online predators. Renner emphasized the necessity of proactive measures to mitigate these risks, stating: “None of us can afford to be on the sidelines when it comes to social media.”

However, the law is expected to face legal challenges, particularly regarding its compatibility with the First Amendment.

Existing accounts will also have to be deleted, according to the new bill. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty


NetChoice LLC, a coalition representing social media platforms – including Meta, Google, and X, has expressed objections to the legislation – labeling it as unconstitutional.

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice, said he was “disappointed” to see the bill signed, adding: “There are better ways to keep Floridians, their families and their data safe and secure online without violating their freedoms.”

Despite potential legal hurdles, both Governor DeSantis and Speaker Renner have affirmed their commitment to upholding the constitutionality of the bill.

Renner reiterated the legislation’s focus on combating the addictive features of social media platforms rather than regulating speech, stating: “You will not find a line in this bill that addresses good speech or bad speech because that would violate the First Amendment.”

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