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.
Facebook announced on Monday it was trialling Messenger Kids in the USA, a standalone app aimed at children under 13 to chat with friends and family, controlled from a parent's main Facebook account. "We've been working closely with the FTC so we're lockstep with them". It's for children younger than 13.
Facebook Messenger's head David Marcus said, "It's really hard to keep the control over who [kids] communicate with, how they communicate, what tools are at their disposal". And with childish augmented reality masks and stickers, video calls with grandma could be a lot more fun and a lot less silent or awkward.
Facebook on Monday unveiled a version of its Messenger application for children, aimed at enabling kids under 12 to connect with others under parental supervision.
He said Facebook is trying to deal with the situation sensibly by direction-finding young Facebook users to serves the designed for them.
"You have a situation where kids are lying to get onto Facebook, and their parents are getting kids to lie to get on Facebook so they can tag them in photos". Marcus added, "This is what we're going to address and fix".
The Messenger Kids app is a response to the fact that millions of kids under 13 are already on Facebook, whether their parents know it or not, according to Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, reports CNBC.
Facebook's rules require that children be at least 13 to create an account, but many are believed to get around the restrictions. First, download the Messenger Kids app on your child's iPad, iPod touch or iPhone from the App Store.
Kids still can't be found through Facebook search, which protects their privacy.
Kids will be able to send photos, videos or other messages to relatives or other contacts accessible through the primary Messenger app, and vice versa.
The new app offers not just text and video chat that can be managed via the parents' accounts.
Moderated GIFs are also slated to be available from Giphy, however when we tested out the Messenger Kids app, that feature was not available.
Federal law prohibits Internet companies from collecting personal information on kids who are below 13 without their parents' permission; as well the feature imposes restrictions on advertising to them.