News 02 Feb 2024

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Florida's Legislative Action on Social Media

Florida’s Legislative Action on Social Media and Minor Safety Takes Center Stage

Author: admin | 02 Feb 2024

Florida lawmakers took decisive action on Wednesday to restrict minor social media accounts and resolve their security issues. The bill’s purpose is to reduce rising anxiety and stress in teenagers. Furthermore, adult Floridians must provide some facial verification documents to prove their age. 

House Bill 1 restricts kids under 16 from using social media accounts, and another bill terminates their accounts from accessing adult or pornographic sites. The Sunshine State is a center point for negotiations about regulating digital platforms as legislators balance securing vulnerable and free expression users. 

House Speaker R-Palm Coast, Paul Renner, believes social media’s impact on minors is worse than cigarettes and opioids. Social Media and Minor Safety Act is the proposed legislation that addresses multiple issues impacting young users, such as inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and online predators. 

The bill specifically doesn’t target any platform but all social media website that allows minors to interact with others, upload filthy material, track user activity, and use addictive traits designed to cause compulsive or excessive use. However, the bill doesn’t affect any site used for private user conversations. 

“They’re taking advantage of kids growing up. That’s their business model. And why do they do it? To keep them hooked … with the dopamine hits that the platform gives our children with every autoplay, like, and push notification,” said bill sponsor Republican Rep. Tyler Sirois.

On Tuesday, Michele Rayner, Democratic Rep., posted on X about her position on the bill and mentioned her late mother. On Wednesday, on the House floor, she received some hateful comments from X users, such as “Your mother was stupid” and “Your Mother Sucks.” 

After reading these comments, she responded, “ I’m 42 years old … and comments like these were a gut punch to me, but I was able to navigate,” furthermore she said. “Imagine what our babies have to deal with when they have their friends in school doing the same cyberbullying to them.”

Instagram, Facebook Meta, and other social media sites push lawmakers to provide another solution, including minors requiring parent’s approval to download apps. The house also wants the problem to be discussed on a federal level compared to a few patches of different state laws. 

“Many teens today leverage the internet and apps to responsibly gather information and learn about new opportunities, including part-time jobs, higher education, civic or church gatherings, and military service,” Meta representative Caulder Harvill-Childs wrote to the House Judiciary Committee. “By banning teens under 16, Florida risks putting its young people at a disadvantage versus teens elsewhere.”

Instagram and Facebook come under social media apps, but what about YouTube and Snapchat? Studies reveal that it is the kid’s most famous app. Furthermore, the HB1 Republican sponsors refused to provide the firm’s name that would implement this bill. Rather, they pinpoint to the social media platform definition, a 26-point test that has platforms to track user activity and by which they can post and view other people’s content.

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