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On February 12, 2024, a federal court in the Southern District of Ohio issued an order granting a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, prohibiting the Ohio Attorney General from implementing and enforcing the Parental Notification by Social Media Operators Act, Ohio Rev. Code § 1349.09(B)(1) (the “Act”).

The Act was signed into law in July 2023, and was set to take effect on January 15, 2024. The Act would require certain website operators to obtain parental consent before allowing children under the age of 16 to create an account on their platform. In its Motion, Plaintiff NetChoice, a national Internet trade association that includes big tech companies among its membership, primarily argued that the Act violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of various social media and gaming platforms, as well as the First Amendment rights of online users.

As previously discussed on our blog last month, the Ohio federal court initially issued an order granting NetChoice’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order. In its recent order granting NetChoice’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, the court noted that certain provisions of the Act included “capacious and subjective language” that “practically invites arbitrary application of the law,” such as exceptions provided for “established” and “widely recognized” news media outlets. The court also reiterated its view that the Act’s approach is “untargeted” as parents must only give one-time approval for the creation of an account, and “platforms are otherwise not required to protect against any of the specific dangers that social media might pose.”