Wednesday December 19, 2018
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To monitor the kids, Facebook launches ‘Sleep Mode’ in Messenger Kids

Since its launch in December 2017, Messenger Kids is facing widespread criticism for encouraging children to join social media.

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay
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In an effort to give more control to parents, Facebook has launched a Sleep Mode in its Messenger Kids that will allow parents to set predetermined “off times” for the app on a child’s device.

When the app is in Sleep Mode, kids cannot send or receive messages or video calls, play with the creative camera or receive notifications.

If they try to open the app, they’ll see a message telling them that it’s in sleep mode and to come back later.

“Parents told us they would like controls that make the app inaccessible at a certain time, like during dinner, homework time or bedtime. We took this feedback to heart and built a feature that gives that level of control to parents,” Tarunya Govindarajan, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a blog post late Friday.

Sleep Mode launched by Facebook in Messenger Kids
FB-Messenger, Pexel

With Sleep Mode, parents can set a designated off time and each day at the designated time, the app will “go to sleep” and not be accessible to kids during those hours.

The mode is controlled from the Parent Control centre in the parent’s Facebook account and the “off times” can be changed at any time.

This is how it works.

Go to the Messenger Kids controls in the main Facebook app. Tap on the child’s name, and then on Sleep Mode in the App Controls’ section.

“Set the times you want the app to turn off for your child. You can set different times for weekdays versus weekends. Once you set the limits, the child will not be able to use the app during those hours,” Govindarajan wrote.

Parents can access all of their controls from the Messenger Kids controls in the main Facebook app.

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“In addition to Sleep Mode, parents can add and remove contacts, delete the child’s account, or create a new account right from the control panel,” the post added.

Since its launch in December 2017, Messenger Kids is facing widespread criticism for encouraging children to join social media.

Child health experts the world over have written to Facebook to withdraw the app designed specifically for children under the age of 13.

British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in December warned the social media giant to stay away from his children.

“Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children. Stay away from my kids please Facebook and act responsibly!” Hunt had posted on Twitter. (IANS)

 

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

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“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)