Sunday, 10 December, 2017

Facebook targets pre-teens with chat app

Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Richard Blumenthal
        Chip Somodevilla  Getty Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Richard Blumenthal Chip Somodevilla Getty
Melissa Porter | 07 December, 2017, 22:53

However, experts estimate millions of children under 13 may already be on Facebook after using false information to sign up. So, parents can get full access on Facebook, while their children can befriend them on Messenger Kids and even play together.

For the first time, Facebook is opening up to children under age 13 with a privacy-focused app created to neutralize child predator threats that plague youth-focused competitors like Snapchat.

We say safely because accounts in Messenger can not be created by a kid alone. "This works", they said", Facebook product management director Loren Cheng tells me.

In addition to our research with thousands of parents, we've engaged with over a dozen expert advisors in the areas of child development, online safety and children's media and technology who've helped inform our approach to building our first app for kids.

We've worked extensively with parents and families to shape Messenger Kids and we're looking forward to learning and listening as more children and families start to use the iOS preview.

Created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) which forbids children under the age of 13 from giving out their personal information without a parent's permission, every child account on Messenger Kids must be set up by a parent.

The senators want proof that Facebook is complying with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, a Federal Trade Commission regulation that imposes rules on collecting data from children under 13 on the internet. The company said it believes the new app will provide a "fun, safer solution" for children to communicate with family and friends. Messenger Kids, meanwhile, is a result of seeing what kids like, which is images, emoji and the like. On one side are parents such as Matt Quirion of Washington, who said Facebook's snaking its way into his children's lives at an early age would most likely do more harm than good. Parents have to use their Facebook email address and password to activate their child's account, but that does not log a parent into their child's device. He also said the company would not automatically convert children's accounts to adult accounts when they turned 13.

Those companies, in turn, must have their own privacy policies to protect children, the app's privacy policy said.

Facebook's focus on younger children raised some alarm bells, however. For example, Facebook has stressed it won't serve ads on the chat app. Facebook is indeed coming for your kids. So if a child wants to be able to chat with one of their classmates, their parent must first friend that kid's parent, and then will see the option to approve that adult's child as a contact for their own kid.

Facebook is trying to get its users talk more about themselves in between all their link shares, photos and videos.

"New aspects of the product will emerge", she said, in her role as a senior consultant for the Center for Digital Democracy. The company has no plans to release a similar kids-only platform for its other main social network, Instagram. "Tech is going to be something kids adopt". Still, a reporting interface written specifically for kids lets them flag anything sketchy to a dedicated support team working 24/7.