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DeSantis Vetoes Blanket Social Media Ban for Youths Under 16

DeSantis Vetoes Blanket Social Media Ban for Youths Under 16

The statute, passed by the Florida Legislature last week, would have required sites like TikTok and Instagram to deny accounts to underage users, even if their parents permitted them to do so.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday vetoed a sweeping social media bill that would have effectively barred Florida residents under the age of 16 from opening accounts on services like TikTok and Instagram, even if their parents permitted them to do so.

In a post on X, Mr. DeSantis said he had vetoed the teen social media ban bill because the state’s Legislature was “about to produce a different, superior bill” that recognized parents’ rights. Last week, the governor had suggested the measure went too far by superseding the authority of parents.

Soon after the news of the veto, Paul Renner, a Republican who is the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, said in a post on X that the new bill would be “an even stronger product to protect our children against online harms.”

While several states have recently passed laws requiring parental consent for children’s social media accounts, the Florida measure that Mr. DeSantis vetoed was designed as a more blanket ban. It would have required certain social networks to verify users’ ages, prevent people under 16 from signing up for accounts and terminate accounts that a platform knew or believed belonged to underage users.

Parents’ groups including the Florida Parent-Teacher Association had urged Mr. DeSantis to veto the bill after the state’s Legislature passed it last week.

The bill would almost certainly have faced constitutional challenges over young people’s rights to freely seek information. It also would have likely ignited online protests from teenagers who rely on social apps to communicate with friends and family, express themselves creatively, keep up with news and follow political, sports, food and fashion trends.

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