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Flawed Facebook App Let Children Chat with Strangers: Report

Instead, the social media giant said it would focus more on its Messenger Kids service

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FILE - Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA
Facebook has admitted a design flaw in its Messenger Kids Service that exposed thousands of children on group chats with unauthorised users.
According to a report in The Verge on Tuesday, the design flaw “allowed users to sidestep that protection through the group chat system, thereby letting children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers”.
The social networking platform introduced Messenger Kids in 2017 and is aimed at kids under 13 years of age. Despite call for withdrawal by experts, Facebook said a “technical error” was behind the problem in group chat. Facebook sent notification to parents, saying it has disabled the group chats in cases where the flaw was detected.
“We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety,” the company added.
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FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. VOA
Messenger Kids is a video chat and messaging app designed for kids to communicate with family and close friends that parents or caregivers approve.
Parents set up and manage their child’s Messenger Kids account through their own Facebook account.
It is unclear how long the bug was present in the app’s group chat feature. Last year, more than 100 child health experts wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to discontinue the Messenger Kids app.
“At a time when there is mounting concern about how social media use affects the well being of adolescents, it is particularly irresponsible to encourage children as young as pre-schoolers to start using a Facebook product,” the authors wrote.
Facing the flak from lawmakers and experts, Facebook in February this year decided not to build a new app called “LOL” to let children share and post humorous meme content. Instead, the social media giant said it would focus more on its Messenger Kids service. (IANS)

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Facebook Commits $130 mn to Build Global Oversight Board for Ensuring Accountability

Facebook intends to continue funding the board's operations in the future, and these reports will be used to assess the need for additional, substantive and long-term funding

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Facebook said it has established the independent Oversight Board Trust to ensure the board can safeguard its ability to make independent decisions and recommendations. Pixabay

Facebook has made an initial commitment of $130 million to build a global oversight board that will ensure good governance and accountability across its services and platforms.

The initial funding will cover operational costs such as office space, staff and travel expenses and should allow the board to operate for at least its first two full terms, approximately six years, Brent Harris, Director of Governance and Global Affairs at Facebook, said in a statement.

The board will submit a yearly budget to the trust for approval and disbursement of funds.

Annual reports from the board and trust will help to document the health and effectiveness of the board, including its stewardship of these resources.

Facebook intends to continue funding the board’s operations in the future, and these reports will be used to assess the need for additional, substantive and long-term funding.

Last November, Mark Zuckerberg wrote about his vision for what content governance should look like for Facebook.

Facebook said it has established the independent Oversight Board Trust to ensure the board can safeguard its ability to make independent decisions and recommendations.

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Facebook has made an initial commitment of $130 million to build a global oversight board that will ensure good governance and accountability across its services and platforms. Pixabay

“The board will have its own staff, independent from Facebook. To start, we expect this staff to include a director, case managers and dedicated staff members (or contracted services) who can support things such as the board’s communications, legal, human resources and research needs,” said Harris.

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In addition, said Facebook, it will continue to work with outside experts to source and review candidates for board membership, including those who’ve been recommended through the public portal, which we opened in September.

“We are eager to see the Oversight Board take shape and start hearing cases next year,” said Facebook. (IANS)