Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida announced Friday he vetoed legislation placing new restrictions on social media sites.

The legislation, HB 1, would require social media sites to not allow those under 16 to create accounts and to verify the age of users. DeSantis said that state legislators are preparing improved legislation in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“I have vetoed HB 1 because the Legislature is about to produce a different, superior bill,” DeSantis said in the post. “Protecting children from harms associated with social media is important, as is supporting parents’ rights and maintaining the ability of adults to engage in anonymous speech. I anticipate the new bill will recognize these priorities and will be signed into law soon.”

NetChoice, a lobbying organization that represents a number of technology companies, including Google, X, Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) and TikTok, praised DeSantis for vetoing the legislation, but raised concerns DeSantis would sign HB 3, which is being considered by the Florida State Senate.

“HB 3 is still I.D. for the internet, and NetChoice calls on Gov. DeSantis to oppose it, too. To verify that a minor is under 16 AND that the adult verifying is actually that minor’s parent or guardian, that will in effect require social media companies to verify identities,” the association said in a post on X. “This is the same unconstitutional idea as Ohio had, and a federal judge has already granted NetChoice an injunction against that law. Courts across the country have been shooting down these types of laws as unconstitutional. It’s time for lawmakers to find a better way, like NetChoice’s SHIELD proposals.”

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the families of children who received sexual advances or explicit photos after a heated exchange with Republican Sen. John Hawley during a January hearing.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Harold Hutchison on March 1, 2024
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