In 2017, Facebook launched Messenger Kids which is a child-friendly version of this app. Even at that time, there was a great protest against Messenger Kids and it wasn’t considered to be amicable by various health professionals.
If we look at the recent cases regarding the privacy and security of Facebook, it won’t be wrong to say that something was bound to go wrong at some point in time. And, it happened recently when Facebook found a major privacy flaw in messenger kids.
Facebook took the responsibility of informing all the parents of the children using Messenger kids about the flaw due to which their children were exposed to some users who were not approved by their parents. The irony of this situation is that- Facebook’s Kids Messenger app was built around a simple premise that children should not be able to talk to those users who were not approved by their parents.
But due to this major privacy flaw the very basic premise of the Kid’s Messenger is outlawed and is being questioned by experts and parents all around the world. In order to correct the flaw and until any further notice, the affected chats were turned off and parents were also provided with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online security.
The Back-Story of the Bug
According to some experts, the bug was a result of a flaw in the process of applying Messenger Kid’s unique permission in the group chat. The issue in this area led to the major privacy flaw where the chats of users/ kids got exposed to unauthorized users who were not approved by their respective parents.
In normal day-to-day life, children who are using Messenger kids can only start a conversation with other users who have been approved by their respective parents and the unapproved users can’t reach out to the kids and either way, is also not possible. Now, the permission setting process became more complex and hassle-full when it was applied to group chats where many users were involved.
The permission setting feature failed and didn’t work properly. This lead to security issues on the Messenger Kids app. As a result of all this, the person who originally launched the group could invite any user. In fact, he/she could even invite those users who were not authorized by the parents. Thus, thousands of children were left in chats with many unauthorized users. And, above all this was simply a violation of the core promise of Messenger kids.
Well, there is no denying the fact that Facebook’s original intention was to create a safer and secure environment/platform for young children. But, due to this security flaw, their intent and functionality are put to question by experts all around the world. This has also alarmed the parents and has broken their trust regarding the app as well.
Many experts have criticized Facebook and quoted that Messenger kids are nothing but a product to target young children. They find it totally unwanted and absurd.