Gov. DeSantis vetoes social media legislation; Senate slated to hear revised bill next week

by | Mar 1, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill to restrict social media use by minors in Florida, citing concerns over parental rights and the bill’s effectiveness, while signaling support for a forthcoming, revised proposal that emphasizes parental control and minor protection online.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill on Friday that would have placed restrictions on social media use by minors in the state, citing concerns over parental rights and the effectiveness of the proposed law.

The legislation, which had passed both chambers of the Florida Legislature and served as a legislative priority for House Speaker Paul Renner, would have prohibited individuals under the age of 16 from creating social media accounts and required platforms to delete accounts of minors upon request by them or their parents.

It also included provisions for social media companies to implement age verification processes to enforce these restrictions.

Despite its passage in both the House and Senate, DeSantis expressed reservations about the bill’s implications for parental oversight of children’s online activities.

“I have vetoed HB 1 because the Legislature is about to produce a different, superior bill,” he said. “Protecting children from harms associated with social media is important, as is supporting parents’ rights and maintaining the ability of adults to engage in anonymous speech. I anticipate the new bill will recognize these priorities and will be signed into law soon.”

In anticipation of the veto, lawmakers introduced changes to the legislation. The amendment, filed by Sen. Erin Grall, aims to address the gap in enforcement of existing federal laws that prohibit children under 13 from having online accounts by introducing third-party age verification.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo this week indicated a willingness to explore additional legislation for age verification on pornography websites. The revised proposal, encapsulated in HB 3, also mandates the deletion of accounts and personal data for minors under 14 and allows for parental intervention for those up to age 16.

“HB 3 will empower parents to control what their children can access online while also protecting minors from the harm caused by addictive social media platforms,” said Renner. “This balance ensures that while you, as parents, have the power to guide your children’s online activities, the law is also there to protect them.”

HB 3 will be heard by the Florida Senate next week.

“HB 3 has the potential to serve as a model for other states to follow, making Florida once again a leader in the protection of children,” Renner remarked.


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