DeSantis vetoes under-16 social media ban. Florida lawmakers provide new option

Tallahassee— On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed one of the most expansive social media restrictions for minors, and lawmakers are proposing new language to keep kids under 14 off such networks.

The draft sent to the governor last week would have prohibited under-16s from popular social media platforms without parental authorization. DeSantis had privacy and parental rights concerns, but he appeared to support a revised proposal that would let 14- and 15-year-olds on social media with parental authorization and restrict younger children.

DeSantis' veto message: “The Legislature is about to produce a different, superior bill.” Protecting children from social media hazards, respecting parents' rights, and allowing adults to speak anonymously are crucial.

He expects to sign the new bill, which will be heard by the Senate on Monday, days before the legislative session ends March 8. Lawmakers and DeSantis negotiated the compromise expecting the veto. Republican House Speaker Paul Renner prioritizes the problem, believing social media harms children psychologically.

Personally, I think we should go 18. Quite terrible. It's poison, Renner said. The business model is addiction that harms children for profit. That’s bad.”

Renner was optimistic after the veto, saying the revised law is better and will have more popular support. “It’s a good product of compromise,” he remarked. “It will have a better court chance.

Several states have explored similar laws. In August, a federal judge in Arkansas invalidated a legislation requiring parental authorization for teenagers to create social media accounts.

Florida supporters expect the bill will survive legal challenges because it bans social media formats based on addictive features like notification alerts and autoplay videos, not site content.

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