On Wednesday, Florida legislators advanced a proposal that would bar social media platforms from permitting individuals under the age of 16 to create accounts, while mandating age verification for all other users.
The legislation specifically prohibits those under 16 from establishing social media accounts and mandates the removal of existing accounts held by minors under the age of 16.
Additionally, the bill requires social media companies to expunge any personal information linked to these accounts. To verify users' age, the platforms must employ a "nongovernmental, independent, third-party not affiliated with the social media platform."
The bill successfully passed the Florida House with a bipartisan vote of 106-13 and is now set to proceed to the Republican-controlled Senate.
There is a division among parents regarding this legislation. Some express opposition, citing concerns about the potential infringement on parental choice. On the other hand, there are those who commend the bill for taking a proactive stance in safeguarding young teenagers from online predators, scammers, and hazardous group challenges that have resulted in physical harm and tragic incidents, including fatalities.
Harvill-Childs, of Meta, told the Judiciary Committee that the age-verification part of the bill raises "both serious data-privacy and constitutionality concerns."
I predict a big back lash from social media user 16 and older who will not want to verify there accounts/identity. This bill does require a more thoughtful approach as many users fear leaving the door open for stolen data.
Are you ready to hand over your documents if you have to?