For the first time, Facebook is opening up to children under age
13 with a privacy-focused app designed to neutralize child
predator threats that plague youth-focused competitors like
Snapchat. Rolling out today on iOS in the US, “Messenger Kids”
lets parents download the app on their child’s phone or tablet,
create a profile for them, and approve friends and family who they
can text and video chat with from the main Messenger app.
Tweens don’t sign up for a Facebook account and don’t need a phone
number, but can communicate with other Messenger and Messenger
Kids users parents sign-off on, so younger siblings don’t get left
out of the family group chat. “We’ve been working closely with the
FTC so we’re lockstep with them. ‘This works’, they said” Facebook
product management director Loren Cheng tells me. “In other apps,
they can contact anyone they want or be contacted by anyone”
Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus notes.
This is like Philip Morris introducing officially licensed candy cigarettes. You’re nuts if you sign your kids up for this.