Facebook Messenger Kids Allowed Users to Chat with Unapproved Users

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In many ways being a parent is more difficult. We now have to find a way to protect our children not just when they’re apart from us but also when they’re on the Internet. Stranger danger is around our children at all times of the day.

Finding safe apps for our children to use on the computer or their devices can be difficult. Finding out what we thought was a safe app is anything but is even worse. Facebook’s Messenger Kids app should be something we can trust.

However, just like the adult versions of the Facebook apps, it turns out Messenger Kids can’t always be trusted, as it unknowingly allows children to chat with users who haven’t been approved by parents.

Dangers of Facebook’s Messenger Kids

Facebook’s Messenger Kids app was built to give kids a safe place to chat with the knowledge that they shouldn’t be chatting with people who have not been approved. We all know there are dangerous people lurking all over the Internet.

However, a design flaw in the Messenger Kids app allows users to leave the protection of the group chat system and enter into group chats with people who have not been approved by their parents.

Facebook has been working for the past week on closing those group chats and alerting users of the design flaw, but it hasn’t made any public statements regarding the issue.

The alert sent to parents reads as follows: “We found a technical error that allowed [Child’s name]’s friend [Friend’s name] to create a group chat with {Child’s name] and one or more of [Friend’s name]’s parent-approved friends.

News Facebook Messenger Kids Girls

“We want you to know that we’ve turned off this group chat and are making sure that group chats like this won’t be allowed in the future. If you have questions about Messenger Kids and online safety, please visit our Help Center and Messenger Kids parents controls. We’d also appreciate your feedback.

Facebook did confirm to The Verge that the message was authentic. They also admitted it had been sent out to thousands of parents recently.

“We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” said a Facebook representative.

“We turned off the afected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety.”

It’s great that Faceook is being proactive about it at this point, but it’s a little too late. They have already put all these children in jeopardy with the design flaw. It’s an egregious error.

Putting Trust in Facebook

Facebook has made it increasingly hard to trust them in the past two or three years. But this is worse. Not only have they put our data at risk, they have put our children’s lives at risk. It’s one thing to give them a second chance with our content, but giving them a second chance with our children is a different thing altogether.

Did you allow your children to use Facebook’s Messenger Kids? If so, will you be giving the app a second chance? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

2 comments

  1. Nobody ever said that being a parent is, or will be, easy. Palming off the job and the responsibility on some electronic gizmo, on social media or a nanny or a babysitter does not make for good parenting. It just shows that the “parents” have abrogated their responsibility. Any male or female can be a father or a mother but it takes involved, caring people to be a MOM and DAD.

    “Putting Trust in Facebook”
    Anyone who does is naive and a fool. FB, Google, et al. are commercial enterprises whose only goal is to grow their user base. They will do anything towards that end. Internet itself is a minefield, not just for kids but for adults, also. It is a truism that parents cannot watch their kids 24/7/365. Therefore they should empower their kids by teaching them about the dangers and how to avoid them. Don’t be expecting Facebook to do what’s right for the kids.

  2. I agree with you Dragon mouth 100%! being a parent?…i can say there was never nor will there EVER be a time when I am not involved in my son’s private life. (to a certain age of course!) he’s reached 19 yrs old…drug free…without becoming a Teen parent, and with no police record. He is on his way to college, and I know one of the reasons why he’s so level headed is because both his mother and I made it a point to “butt into his business” not to be cruel….but to ensure…when he said “he’s meeting Elliot” at the Library…..that it is EXACTLY what he was doing. I would also never place the responsibility of being a parent onto the shoulders of anyone…..ESPECIALLY NOT FACEBOOK! Like…..that doesn’t even make SENSE! This company has a HISTORY of misusing user data, and leaking it and (probably?) selling it. And you want to trust them to PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN!?….pure and utter garbage, and yeah….if this is what you consider to be a good thing? then you’re a moron and an idiot.

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