Marco Rubio has doubts about Florida youth social media ban
FILE PHOTO: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing to discuss President Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget request for the National Institute of Health on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 17, 2022. Anna Rose Layden/Pool via REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: FY 2023 Budget Request for NIH in Washington
'Some court would probably strike it down.'

Legislation that passed the Florida House and is now moving through the Senate that would ban Floridians under the age of 16 from having social media accounts is drawing doubts from Florida’s senior Senator.

Marco Rubio said he thinks courts would strike it down.

His “only concern about it would be that social media is not a state phenomenon. It is an interstate commerce issue. It involves things across state lines. It’s very difficult for states to regulate that. My sense is some court would probably strike it down on those grounds,” he told an Orlando NPR station.

The Judiciary Committee advanced state Sen. Erin Grall’s bill this week that bans them from creating new accounts, and requires platforms to terminate existing accounts held by those youth.

The bill is similar to HB 1, a priority of House Speaker Paul Renner that has already been voted on and sent to the Senate. Renner’s bill was passed despite legal challenges to similar legislation in Utah and Ohio.

“I don’t want to leave the impression that this is going to be an easy thing to do in terms of passing a state law, and all of a sudden, every one of these social media platforms is going to ban people that are under 16 years of age. When you talk about things that you’re conducting online, it’s hard sometimes to even know the age of those people. There’s loopholes around it,” Rubio said.

Debate continues about the legislation’s viability in Tallahassee also, including from the state’s top Republican.

Questions remain in the executive branch about its legality.

“There have been other states that have tried to do similar things that have met resistance in the courts,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said last month. “Not to say courts are always right about this, but anything I do, I want a pathway for this to actually stick.”

Florida’s Attorney General is more sold on the legislation’s viability.

“I think you’re going to see leaders all over the nation that are parents. We all have children. Folks are getting to our children, and adults (who) want to do them harm are getting to our children through social media. Our children are being exposed to inappropriate material; they’re being addicted online,” AG Ashley Moody said on Fox News last month.

“We have to do something to stand up for our kids. I’m proud of the state of Florida, (which) is exploring ways to do that. And I think you’re going to see that all over the nation.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


3 comments

  • Tom

    February 7, 2024 at 11:35 am

    So legislators who are parents want to create laws that save them from having to do the actual parenting work of paying attention to what their kids are up to? We seem to be getting more stupid by the day.

    • Gabi

      February 7, 2024 at 1:12 pm

      Genuinely. It is the parent’s job to spectate their kids activity on social media, not the government. It’s impossible to work out either way, since it takes away the rights of kids and their parents in a way. This doesn’t even allow social media WITH permission. Ridiculous.

  • MH/Duuuval

    February 8, 2024 at 10:00 am

    Erin Grall is bucking to be the first female Pope, and her universal church won’t consist of guitar-strumming laypersons and radical nuns..

Comments are closed.


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