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Facebook’s Messenger Kids has flaw, allows strangers to chat with children

Dan Kitwood/Facebook (File Photo)

By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

It was designed to allow children to chat with family and friends, without being contacted by strangers, but now Facebook has alerted parents who banked on Messenger Kids as an online safety net that the app didn’t work as planned.

Children could circumnavigate the parameters of the program, which only allowed the user to message to a preapproved list of family and friends, by joining a group chat that could include unapproved strangers, The Verge reported.

Facebook has been sending alerts to thousands of users recently that warned them of the group chat function and informed parents that the functionality has been turned off, according to The Verge.

Facebook officials characterized it as a “small number of group chats,” The Verge reported.

They also called it a technical error, NBC News reported.

The company has not said how long the error had been occurring and if it had received complaints before the emails were sent to parents, NBC reported.

Messenger Kids was started in 2017 and was designed for users between the ages of 6 and 12.

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