Facebook’s ‘Messenger Kids’ App Gave Predators the Ability to Target Unsuspecting Children
The tech giant Facebook is more concerned with preventing right-wing dissidents from having free speech on their platform than they are with protecting the sanctity of children, which has been shown in how they administrate their ‘Messenger Kids’ application.
It was revealed by The Verge on Monday that an alleged technical error allowed the application designed to provide a safe chat room experience for children aged 6 to 12 to be infiltrated by grown adults. This supposed design flaw caused the protections to fail and allowed children to join chats with potential predators.
Facebook was forced to acknowledge the problem and alert many parents who mistakenly trusted the Orwellian corporation to protect their kids with the following message:
We found a technical error that allowed [CHILD]’s friend [FRIEND] to create a group chat with [CHILD] and one or more of [FRIEND]’s parent-approved friends. 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 parental controls. We’d also appreciate your feedback.
The problem with Facebook’s software arose when app users initiated group chats. Although the protections were always applied in one-on-one chats, group chats allowed the initiator of the conversation to invite Facebook user they wanted into the chat. This opened the back door for potential predators to target children.
Facebook attempted to minimize the error in a statement they released to the press.
“We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” a Facebook representative told The Verge.
“We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety,” they added.
Privacy groups have alleged that Facebook is systemically violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in how they collect the data of children, and this adds another potential violation for the tech behemoth that remains under widespread scrutiny for its suspect business practices.
Facebook will have to pay an astounding $5 billion fine as a result of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission regarding improprieties related to Cambridge Analytica. Once considered a model company, Facebook is quickly becoming known as one of the most disreputable corporate entities in the world.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg maintains that Facebook’s dedication to their users’ privacy is among their top priorities, even as their lawyers argue that none of their users have privacy on their platform in the court of law.
“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook note from March.
Zuckerberg’s company has refused to protect the rights of any of their users throughout its existence, not even the most vulnerable of society. Lip service will not be enough to save the reputation of this disgraced tech giant, as they attack the free speech of conservative and libertarian voices on their platform.