A flaw has been detected with Facebook app for under-13s. The Facebook app for kids was designed for kids as a safe space for children presumed to be too young to use the grown-up version. The Verge reported that Children encountered unapproved third-party users who are adults.
Launched in 2017, the app was considered safe for children. The app only the kids to chat with friends approved by their parents. The company, however, confirmed that adults could be a part of the group chats and has notified parents.
“We recently notified some parents of messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats. We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety.”
It was discovered in a group chat that a kid could encountered a third party who while approved by one parent, wasn’t approved by the other. This third-party intruder was likely an adult.
A spokesperson for Facebook told the BBC that the loophole was fixed immediately the discovery and so far, no parent has reported an unusual behaviour or complaints about the app. The spokesperson didn’t mention how long the flaw had existed or the time that Facebook noticed it.
At the time of the app launch, Common Sense media, a non-profit organisation had expressed their fears about privacy concerns of parents and users. The sister app, Messenger for kids received some backlash last year after its launch. “Facebook Messenger Kids is just the latest example of a Facebook product that poses unknown privacy risks to parents and user. These ever-present privacy concerns, combined with many developmental experts’ serious observations about the impacts of social media on teens, raises the question of why we need a product designed to attract and engage young kids in the first place,” founder and chief executive of Common Sense told the Media.
The non-profit organisation didn’t mention if the social network would be fined for such blunder as this concerns minors. This comes as the company awaits its final approval of a $5b fine by the Federal Trade Commission over recent violations expected to be announced this week, which might include other charges.