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Written by: Juliana Cipolla

March 25, 2024, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law to help protect and advance the safety of children online. The bill bans children under age 14 from having their own social media accounts and allows 14- and 15-year-olds to become account holders with parental consent. The platform, however, must cancel accounts at the request of parents or minors, and all information from the accounts must be deleted. Accounts already belonging to teens of that age must be deleted if a parent or guardian has not consented. Additionally, the bill protects the ability of Floridians to remain anonymous online and requires sexually explicit websites to use age verification to prevent minors from accessing sites that are inappropriate for children. The bill is to take effect on January 1, 2025.

The bill does not name specific platforms but targets social-media sites that rely on features such as notification alerts and autoplay videos that encourage compulsive viewing. Similar legislation has been proposed in other states like Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Ohio, and Utah, but Florida is the first state to enact a total ban on social media use by minors.

The required age verification puts additional pressure on companies as they are required to obtain the sensitive personal information of users prior to allowing access to the services or content. In accordance with current trends, it is imperative, now more than ever, that companies protect the sensitive personal information they collect about their users, and abide by emerging regulations restricting data-collection among minors. At The Beckage Firm: Tech, Data Security & Privacy Law Firm, we have a team of seasoned attorneys with ample experience in child safety laws and litigation that can help your company stay compliant amidst the trends of emerging state laws!