Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 24, 2024
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

January 24, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida House passed House Bill 1 (HB 1), a sweeping censorship bill aimed at stifling freedom of expression online by requiring all users, including adults, to verify their age by providing a photo ID or other age verification documentation before using existing social media accounts or creating new ones.

HB 1 prohibits minors under the age of 16 from creating social media accounts on certain platforms and deletes any existing accounts, regardless of whether a minor’s parent consents to their children using such platforms. The bill also targets social media businesses by imposing penalties on the platforms should they fail to restrict minors’ access.

Its companion bill, Senate Bill 1788 (SB 1788), has only been referred to two committees in the Senate and is expected to be voted on in the next couple of weeks.

Howard Simon, interim executive director at the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:

“This vote to ban young people under 16 from having social media accounts even with the consent of their parents shows that the claim of ‘parents’ rights’ of the last two legislative sessions was just a cover for censorship.”

Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel at the ACLU of Florida, added: 

“The legislature continues to prove it has no regard for the First Amendment and free speech. Floridians have spoken out about HB 1 and the multiple constitutional concerns regarding free speech and privacy. The internet, including social media platforms, contains vast amounts of constitutionally protected speech for both adults and minors. 

“The age-verification requirements in HB 1 place barriers between users, whether they’re adults or minors, and their constitutional right to speak online. Age verification requirements also blatantly chill the speech of adults by requiring them to surrender their anonymity to engage in constitutionally protected speech. 

“It’s troubling to see how unbothered Florida’s legislature is about undermining parental rights when it suits their interests. The government shouldn’t be controlling what ideas and information parents can allow their children to access. This bill does not help children or their parents - all it does is strip Floridians away of their constitutional rights.

“To amplify what Floridians across the state have said: if our lawmakers truly care about the wellbeing of our children, they should do everything in their power to expand Medicaid access, protect minors from unsafe labor conditions, and ensure access to affordable housing for families. This law does nothing but chill speech and further restrict the rights of Floridians.”