A flaw in a Facebook app “Messenger Kids” designed for children allows kids to chat online with people unapproved by their 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,”
Facebook said in statement “We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety.”
In the message to parents, Facebook included links to the FAQ for the app, to the parent’s control center for the software, and to a feedback page.
The breakdown in parental control occurs when a child is part of a group chat. Any person chatting one-on-one must be approved by the child’s parents.
In group chat, however, the organizer of the group may invite members who are cleared to communicate with the organizer but not cleared to talk to some other members of the group. The bug in the app allows all group members to chat with each other whether approved by a parent not.
When launching Messenger Kids, Facebook made this declaration: “Messenger Kids gives parents more control. Parents fully control the contact list and kids can’t connect with contacts that their parent does not approve.”
Facebook may have been giving parents a false sense of security with that claim.