Facebook messed up big time when the privacy setting on Kids Messenger was compromised, giving strangers the ability to chat with minors on the app. “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 toldThe Verge. “We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety.”
A father of a child who was a victim to the flaw shared a screenshot of a conversation his daughter was having on a Santa Claus app where someone was asking his eight-year-old what she was wearing.
Facebook quietly handled the matter by sending out a message to parents who have child users:
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.
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Usually, parents have to approve all users on their children’s accounts but someone hacked the system leading to such mishaps. It’s unclear how low the bug has been present but the alert to parents has seemingly averted the crisis.