Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 15, 2024
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,

February 15, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee passed House Bill 1 (HB 1), a broad censorship bill aimed at stifling freedom of expression online by requiring all users, including adults, to verify their age by providing 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. 

The bill was passed by the Florida House chamber several weeks ago. 

Kara Gross, legislative director of the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following: 

“Let’s be clear: HB 1 is a government censorship bill aimed at stifling freedom of expression online. 

“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 and threaten the privacy of adults by requiring them to surrender their anonymity to engage in constitutionally protected speech. 

“Banning 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 had nothing to do with parental rights and everything to do with government censorship of viewpoints and information the government doesn’t like. The government shouldn’t be controlling what ideas and information parents can allow their children to access. 

“If our lawmakers truly care about the well-being of our children, they should prioritize expanding Medicaid access to struggling families, passing legislation protecting minors from unsafe labor conditions, increasing school psychologists, ensuring access to affordable housing for families, and protecting families with minor children from facing eviction.”