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Florida bans children under 14 from social media under sweeping new law

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Children under 14 will no longer be allowed to join social media in Florida starting next year.

Signed into law by the governor Ron DeSantisthe legislation orders social media companies to delete accounts of those under 14.

Children aged 14 and 15 will also need parental consent before signing up to platforms like Instagram And Snapchat.

Companies that fail to delete accounts risk being sued on behalf of children – with the minor fined up to $10,000 (£7,908) – and could also be fined up to to $50,000 (£39,538) for any violation of the law.

It should come into force in Florida starting in January next year, but challenges from companies claiming it violates the U.S. Constitution are expected.

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The states Republican Spokesman Paul Renner called the bill his top priority and said that “a child, in their brain development, does not have the capacity to know that they are being sucked into these addictive technologies.”

The bill also defines material harmful to children to include content “lacking serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value to minors,” in addition to “patently offensive” depictions of sexual conduct and indecency.

Companies that do not prohibit access to this material, or do not prohibit future access to a minor after reporting it, are “liable to the minor for such access, including court costs and reasonable fees.” of lawyer”.

Photo: AP
Picture:
Gov. Ron DeSantis said the bill “satisfies, I think, fair application of the law and the Constitution” Photo: AP

“We will beat them”

Mr Renner admitted he knew the social media companies “would sue the second this deal was signed”, but said: “We’re going to beat them. We’re going to beat them and we’re never going to stop, Never.”

Mr. DeSantis, who recently suspended his campaign to be the Republican presidential nomineealso supported the bill and said “not only have we satisfied my needs, but we have also satisfied, I think, fair application of the law and the constitution.”

NetChoice, a professional group linked to Meta, Tic Tac and X, claimed that Florida’s policy created an “Internet ID” and imposed restrictions on all Floridians, regardless of age.

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“We are disappointed to see Governor DeSantis take this path,” Carl Szabo, NetChoice vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

“There are better ways to keep Floridians, their families, and their data safe online without violating their freedoms.”

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