Facebook Launches Children-Focused Messenger Service

Messenger Kids

Tech giant Facebook has announced that it will be launching a ‘Messenger Kids’ app in more than 70 countries. According to a help page on Facebook’s website, the countries listed include Brazil, India, Japan, and New Zealand among the countries where the children-focused messaging service is available.

Not just that, the company has also announced a number of tweaks that it plans to make to how the app functions. Facebook has taken a lot of time to roll out the app to other places in the world, ever since its original US launch in 2017 and expansion into Canada and Peru in 2018. The company has said that it is launching in more countries as children around the world are having to learn remotely while schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The app although has been in some controversy in the past. Last year, an implementation error allowed children to create group chats with people that their parents hadn’t approved. This issue created quite the backlash for the social messaging giant, and the firm was forced to take a rather stringent approach to privacy and security, especially when it comes to children using it.

Facebook is tweaking how children and their parents can use the service. Parents can opt in to let their children control their own friend requests rather than having to manage every request on their behalf. However, to make this safe for children, parents will still get notifications about the friends their children are making, and they also have the option to override any friend requests that they feel are threatening.

Parents will also be able to approve an adult friend, like teachers, relatives, and manage a group chat with their children in it. They can also opt-in to make their children’s name and profile photos visible to friends of friends in the US, Canada, and Latin America.