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A federal judge has blocked Ohio’s new law that would require social media companies to get parental consent for users under 16.

Chief US District Judge Algenon Marbley ruled in favor of NetChoice, a tech industry group, stating the law infringes on minors’ First Amendment rights. He said, “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.”


This comes as Ohio sought to address the negative impacts of social media on minors’ mental health and protect them from sexual predators through the Social Media Parental Notification Act. The law’s opposition, including platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, argued it violated constitutional rights, which Judge Marbley agreed with in his decision.

The injunction places Ohio’s initiative on hold indefinitely, extending the temporary block initiated last month that prevented the law’s enactment on January 15. Reacting to the decision, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expressed his disappointment, citing “overwhelming evidence that social media has a negative effect on the mental health of minors, including increases in depression and suicide-related behavior.”


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