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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

HB1: Florida's social media restriction bill is headed to the governor's desk

The Florida Historic Capital
Anna Jones
/
WFSU Public Media
The Florida Historic Capital

The House and Senate gave the final nod to ban kids from apps like Tik Tok and Snapchat.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is now weighing whether to sign a bill (HB1) that calls for the removal of all social media accounts held by kids under 16. House Bill 1 passed the House and Senate on Thursday in an effort to prevent children from being exposed to harmful material online.

After the legislature passed House Bill 1, DeSantis told reporters Friday he still has some concerns. He said parental rights are an important part of his administration’s agenda.

“We’re somebody that believed in involving parents as much as possible," said DeSantis. "I do think parents could supervise in ways where it’s used in ways that can be beneficial.”

DeSantis has never fully embraced the social media ban. He said while he agrees social media can be dangerous to kids’ mental health, parents should have the final say when it comes to their child.

Despite DeSantis’ disapproval, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is touting the measure as a success.

“We’ve had many good conversations with all stakeholders inside and outside the Capitol including the governor’s office," House Speaker Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, said Thursday.

Renner said his staff worked with the Senate to address some of the governors’ concerns including the age-verification portion of the bill. He said not allowing tech companies to retain personal identifying information should clear up a lot of the governors’ worries about violating the privacy of adult users.

"I think if you look at this bill, you’ll see all the enhanced anonymity we put in, which is an issue he had raised with us."

Sen. Erin Grall,R-Fort Pierce, was one of the lawmakers to lead the measure in the Senate. She too joined in on the celebration, as she thanked Renner for making the bill one of his top priorities in this legislative session.

“The focus on the constitutionality of it and how we passed a law that works for Floridians, it’s just been an honor and a privilege," said Grall. "I am just grateful for everything you’ve done for the state of Florida.”

As for the social media ban, its next stop will be the Governor’s desk where he can either sign it, veto it, or the bill could also become a law if he decides to take no action.

Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer.

Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary, and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp, and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.