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DeSantis plans to sign a bill restricting kids from social media

Ron DeSantis looking to the left behind a microphone
Charlie Neibergall
/
AP
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra's, R-Iowa, Faith and Family with the Feenstras event, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, in Sioux Center, Iowa.

The bill, in part, would prevent children under age 16 from opening social-media accounts — though it would allow parents to give consent for 14- and 15-year-olds to have accounts.

After vetoing an earlier version, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday made clear he will sign a measure (HB 3) that seeks to keep children off social-media platforms.

“We really want our kids to not just be wedded to a handful of social media apps,” DeSantis said during an appearance in Polk County. “I don't think, ultimately, that's something that is going to be healthy for our society as our kids grow up.”

The bill, in part, would prevent children under age 16 from opening social-media accounts — though it would allow parents to give consent for 14- and 15-year-olds to have accounts. Children under 14 could not open accounts.

Tech-industry and free-speech groups have already signaled that the bill is likely to face a First Amendment court challenge. House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, made the social-media issue a priority of this year's legislative session, which ended last week.

But DeSantis vetoed an initial version (HB 1) after raising concerns about constitutional issues and infringement on parental rights. A significant change in the revised bill would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to open accounts with parental consent. The initial version did not include a parental-consent option for creating accounts.

“I think that that's a good balance there that's being struck,” said DeSantis, who negotiated with Renner on the revised version.

The bill does not name social-media platforms that would be affected. But it includes a definition of such platforms, with criteria related to such things as algorithms, “addictive features” and allowing users to view the content or activities of other users.