Belfast Telegraph

Facebook app flaw allowed third parties into kids' chat

Launched in 2017, the app - which is not available in the UK but is open to users in the US, Canada, Peru and Mexico - is aimed at under-13s and is meant to be used as a safe space for them to chat to friends and family (stock photo)
Launched in 2017, the app - which is not available in the UK but is open to users in the US, Canada, Peru and Mexico - is aimed at under-13s and is meant to be used as a safe space for them to chat to friends and family (stock photo)

By Martyn Landi

A flaw in Facebook's Messenger Kids app meant children could have come into contact with people not approved by their parents, the social network has confirmed.

Launched in 2017, the app - which is not available in the UK but is open to users in the US, Canada, Peru and Mexico - is aimed at under-13s and is meant to be used as a safe space for them to chat to friends and family.

It gave parents the ability to approve the people their children could chat with, but a design flaw meant that in some cases it was possible for a child in a group chat to come into contact with a third person who, while approved by the parent of one child, had not been approved by the other.

"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 spokesman said.

"We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety."

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