Federal judge blocks Arkansas social media age verification law to have gone into effect Friday

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A US District Judge has blocked an Arkansas social media age verification law that was set to go in effect Friday, according to a Thursday court filing.

The act was aimed at requiring “age verification for use of social media; and to clarify liability for failure to perform age verification for use of social media and illegal retention of data,” according to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ office.

It’s believed this would have been the first law in the US requiring age verification from new social media users, and to require parental consent, to go into effect.

Judge Timothy L. Brooks said a motion filed by NetChoice — a group that represents a slew of social media companies like Facebook and Snapchat — “has standing to assert a constitutional challenge to Act 689 on behalf of its members and its members’ users.”

In a statement Chris Marchese, director of the NetChoice Litigation Center, he was pleased with the court’s decision.

“We’re pleased the court sided with the First Amendment and stopped Arkansas’ unconstitutional law from censoring free speech online and undermining the privacy of Arkansans, their families and their businesses as our case proceeds,” Marchese said in the statement. “We look forward to seeing the law struck down permanently.”

Advocates for the measure say it would help protect children from online predators, but the judge says as written, the law is “not targeted to address the harms it has identified” and is a burden on free speech.

Brooks said the act is blocked “pending final disposition of the issues on the merits.”

CNN reached out to Huckabee Sanders’ office for comment.

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