US Democrat Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal wrote to Facebook asking if there was a “worrying pattern” of poor privacy protection for children using its Messenger Kids app, launched in 2017.
The senators were “disturbed” to learn that the application allowed thousands of children to join group chats in which not all members of the group were approved by their parents, they said in a letter addressed to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.
“Facebook has a responsibility to meet its promise to parents that children are not exposed to unapproved contacts, a promise that it appears that Facebook has not fulfilled,” they said.
“Children’s privacy and safety online should be Messenger Kids’ top priority.”
The senators sought transparency and answers on what the company is doing to ensure children’s privacy and safety online, and meet expectations of parents and fulfill law obligations.
Senators also asked Zuckerberg when the company became aware of the flaw and its duration. They also asked if Facebook had launched a revision of the application to identify other flaws that may exist, demanded that Facebook reply to these questions by Aug. 27.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.
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14 September, 2019