The children’s communication platform ‘Messenger Kids’ was developed by social giant Facebook in December 2017. The app was designed for a young audience who were not old enough to use the ‘grown-up’ version of the social network.
The app works by only allowing young users to talk to friends who have been authorised by a parent or guardian. Parents on the platform have complete oversight and control, with requirements about identity verification and access to the profile.
The privacy flaw
This week, it has been revealed by The Verge that a design flaw in the software has made it possible for unauthorised users to be part of group chats. It has been said that in a group chat, it was possible for a child to come into contact with a third person who, while approved by one child’s parent, was not approved by the other. This third person could be a user of any age.
For the past week, Facebook has been closing down various group chats and alerting users and parents about the flaw. A spokesperson for Facebook has since spoken out to disclose that the design flaw was fixed immediately once discovered and turned off the affected chats.
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