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Messenger Kids By Facebook Had a Flaw That Allowed Them to Chat with Strangers

Facebook is now aware of this issue and has been turning off unauthorized group chats

  • Messenger Kids was made by Facebook as an alternative to its regular Messenger app and is intended to be safe to use by kids
  • A design flaw in the app was found which allowed kids that are using the app to chat with other people
  • Facebook is aware now of the issue and is working on a fix

Despite all the numerous social media platforms being used, Facebook is still widely used by people of all walks of life. From a service that allows people to interact and make posts for others to see, it has evolved to even have posts from groups and sharing pictures and videos has become easier.

Messenger Kids flaw allowed kids to talk to unauthorized users
Facebook is still one of the widely-used social media platforms

Facebook also has other services that can be used to get in touch. Their own Messenger app, which is directly tied to the Facebook platform, is widely used for chatting with other people, both as a direct message or within a group chat.

Facebook developed and launched Messenger Kids in December 2017. Initially launched for iPads, versions for iPhones and Android devices are now out, but it is only available in the US, Canada, Peru, and Mexico. Kids below 13 years old can use the service so they can talk to other people and not worry about a Facebook account, as they won’t need one. Parents also has full control and one would need their approval before they can start chatting with their child.

Messenger Kids flaw allowed kids to talk to unauthorized users
Messenger Kids was made with the intention of letting kids keep in touch online while at the same time providing a safer way to do so.

A huge flaw in the Messenger Kids’ design was discovered which lead to Facebook turning off the group chats that they discovered. From an article posted by The Verge, parents of the kids whose app is affected would receive a message from Facebook, alerting them of what happened.

The bug came from how permissions are utilized in the app. Parents will need to give approval to a person that wants to chat with their child and it works fine for one-on-one chat, but the permissions through group chats somehow was flawed, which allowed other people in the chat to invite those that were not authorized by parents.

This actually defeats the purpose of Messenger Kids, as the app was supposed to be the means of protecting a child online, but hopefully a fix can be done soon.

 

Also read: Security Concerns Have Risen Up With the Use of FaceApp

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Written by Drew Tetangco

An anime lover and an avid toy collector. He transforms into a wordsmith by night.

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