A flaw in Facebook’s messaging app aimed toward kids allowed thousands of users to enter group chats with unapproved strangers, The Verge reported on Monday.
Messenger Kids, launched in 2017, allows kids between 6 and 12 years old to chat with family members and a list of buddies pre-approved by their parents.
However, a “technical error” within the app meant it was potential for a kid to enter a group chat with friends-of-friends who hadn’t been authorized by their parents.
Fb sent out a notice to thousands of customers’ parents last week informing them of the design the flaw. The corporate stated the error only affected a restricted number of group chats.
“We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users a few technical errors that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” a Facebook spokesperson instructed CNBC.
“We turned off the affected chats and offered parents with extra resources on Messenger Kids and online safety.”
Facebook didn’t point out how long the flaw was lively within the app; however, stated it fixed the problem “as soon because it was discovered.” It’s not clear if the corporate received any complaints from parents previous to the flaw’s disclosure.
Messenger Kids has attracted scrutiny from legislators and privacy advocates after its launch on December 2017.
In 2018, a lot of consumer teams filed a complaint with the FTC arguing the app violates children’s’ privacy and doesn’t meet the necessities of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) because it’s not designed “to make sure that the person offering consent is actually the kid’s parent.”
Moreover, experts have raised concerns that Messenger Kids introduces children to social media at too young of an age.