Facebook fails more often than others in its efforts to cleanse the platform and this time, a messaging app meant for children met with serious flaws that its purpose proved self-defeating for the social media giant.
Facebook's Messenger Kids app was designed to protect children not to talk to unauthorized users in group chat but the app ended up doing exactly the opposite, letting them talk with strangers due to a serious flaw in its design.
The app allows a parent to approve a contact, so children as young as six are free to chat one-on-one with that person through video, texts, silly gifs, among others. But what about group chats? Here Messenger Kids allows children to indulge in group chats ignoring the need for permission about these strangers.
The Messenger Kid app allows a kid to be invited to a group chat by an authorized friend but the users in the new chat group require no such authorization to indulge in talking to the child. So, one channel lets kids open to other groups and members who are not screened or allowed by parents in that may involve in chat.
After realizing the flaw, Facebook is quietly closing down such group chats over the past one week, reports Gizmodo quoting a Facebook representative who said: "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."
But ever since the app Messenger Kids was launched by Facebook in 2017, the initial opposition came child health care advocates who had dashed off a letter signed by 100 people asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to delete the app. They argued that the app will expose children to stress, negative body images, and sleep deprivation due to over-exposure to the screen. Facebook, then introduced a "Sleep Mode" so parents could restrict the time their children spent on the app.
But the issue of privacy always remained the major bottleneck for Facebook. It could never identify hate speech on its platform in the last five years leading to allegations in almost every country that the platform is fast spreading fake news and hatred among people.
In some cases, the identity of unsuspecting moderators has been revealed to terrorists giving security cover a clear breach. Now, this latest flaw, that too involving the precious privacy of children, make Facebook all the more untrustworthy among the social platforms.