Ron DeSantis just signed a bill barring Florida kids under 14 from using TikTok, SnapChat, and Instagram

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday prohibiting Florida residents under the age of 14 from owning a social media account, while also introducing restrictions for 14- and 15-year-olds.
The bill, which DeSantis said aims to tackle grooming and mental health concerns among children, is set to take effect on January 1, 2025.
The law’s text compels social media companies to flag and delete accounts owned by Florida residents who are deemed “likely younger than 14 years of age.”Users have 90 days to dispute their account’s termination if they were wrongly identified, per the law.

Parents in the state can also file a termination request for their children’s accounts that must be fulfilled in 10 business days, the bill says.


“You can have a kid in the house, safe, seemingly, and then you have predators that can get right in there into your own home. You can do everything right and they know how to manipulate these platforms,” he said.

The governor vetoed a version of the bill earlier this month that outright barred teens under 16 from having a social media account, regardless of parental consent. DeSantis said at the time that legislators would revise the law to protect free speech rights.

Paul Renner, the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives on Monday accused social media platforms of using algorithms to pull young users into consuming hours of content that disrupts their mental health.

Renner said he expected the bill to receive resistance from the tech industry. “But you know what? We’re going to beat them,” he said.

Most platforms already bar kids under 13

The new bill didn’t name any social media companies, but described many characteristics of popular apps today, such as “infinite scrolling,” push notifications, or using an algorithm to push content to users.


However, the act does not prevent children from lying about their ages online to bypass age restrictions.

Critics of DeSantis’ bill are likely to mount a legal challenge against it over First Amendment concerns.

NetChoice, a tech trade group representing Meta, TikTok, Snapchat, and other firms, in January sued to block laws in Ohio and Arkansas that restrict social media use among teens from 16 to 18 years of age. The group said the rules were unconstitutionally vague and could impinge upon free speech rights.


Utah was the first US state to restrict minors’ access to social media, enacting a law in March 2023 that prevents those under 18 from owning an account with a parent’s permission.

Representatives for DeSantis, Meta, TikTok, and Snapchat did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent outside regular hours by Business Insider.

* Original Article: