Facebook created “Kids Messenger” back in 2017 pledging a “safe space” for kids to chat and connect with one another, with approval settings set by the parents. The main draw to the app was the fact that parents could protect their kids from talking to strangers and ensure that their children were chatting among approved friends. The app is for children under the age of 13.
Despite this being a good idea to the core, Facebook has misstepped again. Recently a bug was brought to light that enables unapproved members to join into group chats with children. Facebook is aware of the issue and has claimed it is only in a select number of cases. They have since fixed the bug so there should be no further issues.
What is concerning is the thought that this has gone on for quite some time. How long has Facebook known about it? Were there adults posing as children popping into these group chats? There are a clear lack of regulations in the children’s chat space.
Companies like Facebook that operate in this market must be more strictly regulated to ensure the safety they pledge, as well as incentivized to fix any problems such as that with the Kids Messenger with haste. This bug could have been going on for a significant amount of time, with Facebook taking their sweet time to fix it. That must change if children’s safety in online communication is truly the goal.