Facebook bills its Messenger Kids app as safe, but it has failed to do just that, allowing children to join unauthorized groups…
About two years ago, in 2017, Facebook introduced Messenger Kids. It debuted as a safe chat app, of which, parents had ultimate control. But, in the time since its roll out, the mobile app has faced much criticism and endured a lot of skepticism.
Now, a design flaw has been uncovered. One that allows young users to participate in group chats, with adults, and without their parents’ permission.
Facebook Messenger Kids Safety Measures Fail as Children could Join Unauthorized Groups
This isn’t the first flub. Just last month, Facebook took the perplexing step of asking parents to invite other adults to install the app to chat with kids.
Messenger Kids is supposed to be a communication platform for children under the age of 13. Facebook touts it as a safe experience where parents retain virtually all control. Messenger Kids has been billed as a safe environment for peer-to-peer chats with children of the same age. And, between kids who most likely have real-life connections.
Now, it’s been learned Facebook is sending parents messages about a technical glitch which allows children to join unauthorized groups:
We found a technical error that allowed [CHILD]’s friend [FRIEND] to create a group chat with [CHILD] and one or more of [FRIEND]’s parent-approved friends. We want you to know that we’ve turned off this group chat and are making sure that group chats like this won’t be allowed in the future. If you have questions about Messenger Kids and online safety, please visit our Help Center and Messenger Kids parental controls. We’d also appreciate your feedback.”
At this time, little is known about the problem. There aren’t any specifics about the nature of the design flaw or how many children were affected.
Here’s a simple guide for parents to follow to learn if their children were part of unauthorized group chats.