Federal judge blocks Ohio law regulating kids’ access to social media
Feb 13, 2024, 7:54 AM
(Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Monday’s order by District Judge Algenon Marbley reiterates what Marbley said last month when he issued an emergency order halting the Ohio law from going into effect. Ohio’s legislation would have required social media platforms to obtain parental consent before creating accounts for children under age 16.
It’s the latest blow to states that have vowed a crackdown on social media in the face of mounting claims that the technology contributes to mental health harms. And it highlights the many legal hurdles facing calls to ban social media for young Americans.
At the time, Marbley said the legislation was “breathtakingly blunt” in trying to achieve its goals. On Monday, Marbley used that phrase again.
“Foreclosing minors under sixteen from accessing all content on websites that the Act purports to cover, absent affirmative parental consent, is a breathtakingly blunt instrument for reducing social media’s harm to children,” Marbley wrote. “The approach is an untargeted one, as parents must only give one-time approval for the creation of an account, and parents and platforms are otherwise not required to protect against any of the specific dangers that social media might pose.”
The injunction by the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio is an early-stage victory for NetChoice, a tech industry group that sued to block the legislation and is behind challenges to similar laws in Arkansas, California and Utah.