Last month, privacy advocates were alarmed to discover that Facebook had been notifying parents of a design flaw in its Messenger Kids app that allowed children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers. Now some of the social media giant’s strongest critics on Capitol Hill are calling on the company to answer for this security lapse.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey wrote a stern letter to Facebook this week, asking when the company knew about this flaw, how long it had existed, and what the company would do in the future to prevent it from happening again.
“We are disturbed to learn that in thousands of cases, children using Messenger Kids were able to join group chats in which not all of the members of the chat had been approved by their parents,” the senators wrote in their letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Together, these issues point to a worrying pattern of lax privacy protections for kids on the Messenger Kids platform.”
Thankfully, Facebook closed this loophole and notified parents. However, that doesn’t address the larger problem of why Facebook needs to be involved in the lives of children in the first place. Of course the company wants to hook more users, but the price in privacy may be too much to take.
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