Ron DeSantis Vetoes Florida's Social Media Ban for Minors, Backs Revised Bill

A revised social media regulation bill is being proposed in Florida after Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed an initial version that sought to ban minors under 16 from platforms regardless of parental consent. As one Florida republican notes, Silicon Valley’s “business model is addiction that causes harm to children for profit.”

CNBC reports that Florida lawmakers have put forth new legislation that aims to restrict social media usage for minors following a veto from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week. The original bill passed by the state legislature would have instituted a near complete ban on popular social media platforms for children under 16. However, DeSantis cited issues related to privacy, parental rights, and free speech in his veto decision.

In his veto message, DeSantis stated: “The Legislature is about to produce a different, superior bill. 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.”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, listens as he testifies during the US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing "Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis" in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, listens as he testifies during the US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis” in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The governor indicated he is likely to sign the reworked proposal, which has received backing from Republican House Speaker Paul Renner. The new language would allow 14- and 15-year-olds onto social media sites with parental permission, while blocking access outright for kids under 14.

Supporters believe narrowing the focus to features that promote addictive usage, rather than attempting to regulate content, will give the regulations a better chance of surviving legal disputes. “It’s a good product of compromise,” said Renner, who noted social media’s “business model is addiction that causes harm to children for profit.”

Florida is not alone in its efforts to shield minors from potentially harmful digital experiences. Arkansas passed a similar law last year requiring parental consent for new social media accounts, but it was blocked by a federal judge. With bipartisan concern rising over youth mental health and technology, the Sunshine State’s proposals could influence policymaking across the U.S.

Read more at CNBC here.

ucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.

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