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Facebook's Messenger Kids rollout makes British lawmaker question 'underage use' policy

07 December, 2017, 02:35 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Facebook have launched a Messenger app just for kids

Facebook made an important announcement on December 5: It launched a Messenger for Kids - targeted at children under the age of 13 years.

She's anxious that introducing a Facebook product to young kids is only going to make them want to use the main Facebook product, as well as other apps like this.

The U.K. health secretary on Tuesday attacked Facebook's plans to create an app for young users, telling the social media platform to "stay away from my kids".

According to the BBC's North America technology reporter, Dave Lee, the prevention methods to stop under-age children using Facebook are "trivial", meaning more than 20 million under-13-year-olds are thought to be using the network.

"After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the U.S., we found that there's a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want", Loren Cheng, product management director for the new app, explained in an announcement on Facebook's website.

"There's really a gap in the market for a messaging app for kids that also gives parents control", Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson said.

He said the company was failing to act responsibly despite having assured the government that it would not target its service at children, who can only use the main social media website if they are over 13.

"Particularly for parents who have already tried to get their under 13s onto Facebook so they can communicate with grandma, this is a godsend", said Stephen Balkam, the founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute.

The app will allow you to text and video chat with friends and family, using different types of masks and filters similar to those on Snapchat. "We appreciate that for now, the product is ad-free and appears created to put parents in control". But, per the app's privacy policy, Facebook reserves the right to share information with third parties, which must in turn have their own privacy policies to protect children. The app requires an adult with a Facebook account to set up the app for his child.

The new application aims to provide kids with a safe way to video call or message friends and loved ones whenever and wherever they want. This means that you won't get unknown people trying to add you on Facebook.

It's an early version of the app with limited availability.

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