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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Florida tightens controls on teen social media accounts Parents of teenagers under 16 will have control

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-S.C.) signed HB 3 into law, which will give parents of teens under 16 more control over their children’s access to social media and require age verification for many websites.

 

The law requires social media platforms to prevent children under 14 from creating accounts and remove existing ones. It also requires parental or guardian consent for 14- to 15-year-olds to create or maintain social media accounts and requires platforms to delete accounts and personal information for this age group upon request by the teen or parent.

Companies that fail to immediately remove the accounts of 14- and 15-year-olds may be subject to lawsuits on their behalf and will have to pay up to $10,000 in damages each. A “knowing or reckless” violation may also be considered an unfair or deceptive trade practice, which is subject to penalties of up to $50,000 per violation.

The law also requires many commercial apps and websites to verify the age of their users, raising a number of privacy concerns. It does, however, require websites to provide users with the option of “anonymous age verification,” defined as a third-party verification that cannot retain identifying information after the task is completed.

The requirement kicks in when a commercial site contains a “substantial portion of material harmful to minors,” defined as more than a third of the content on the site, clearly targeting porn sites. Such sites must ensure that users are over 18 years of age, although news sites are exempt from this requirement. Violations are also subject to fines of up to $50,000 per violation.

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