ACTION GROUPS are calling for the shut down of Facebook's Messenger Kids after accusing the app of using kids' data in a way that contravenes local child protection laws.
The 'safer' version of Messenger was launched in 2017 is the target of attacks led by the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood (CFCC) which has filed a complaint saying that the app collects data without the explicit consent of the parents.
The argument suggests that Messenger Kids does not, at least in this regard, meet the criteria of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - a drier, less well illustrated version of ‘A Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra' (stop that!) because there's no mechanism for proving that the adult authorising the app is really their parent.
In fact, as long as the Facebook user approving is of legal age, they can approve it from a newly created account, leading to the possibility of businesses just serving these fake authorisations.
"…even a fictional 'parent' holding a brand-new Facebook account could immediately approve a child's account without proof of identity," foams the CFCC.
As an app specifically designed for under-13s who, officially, shouldn't be using Facebook in the first place, Messenger Kids has always been a bone of contention, but El Zuck has always argued that the lack of advertising and parental consent features were sufficient.
But earlier this year, the group sent a letter signed by 100 experts and paediatric-science types to Facebook telling them why it should take down the app because won't someone think of the children.
That's even before the accusation that third-parties were being sold information gathered by the app. After all, the promise was not to display any ads to the kids and if there's one thing 2018 has taught us, it's that that isn't the sweetest pie in social media. μ
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