"We created Messenger Kids with the belief that parents are ultimately the best judges of their kids' technology use, and the parents we've spoken to have asked for a better way to control the way their children message", Davis wrote.
Messenger Kids is being trialled in the USA as a standalone app for a smartphone or tablet that is controlled from a parent's Facebook account and does not create a main Facebook profile for young users. And in the event a child is harassed or exposed to banned content in Messenger Kids, the burden falls in part on Facebook's human moderators to act. "This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids", TechCrunch reported.
Facebook says it isn't using Messenger Kids to target users with ads; the app is free and there are no in-app purchases.
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"There's really a gap in the market for a messaging app for kids that also gives parents control", Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson said. Like Facebook, Messenger Kids has "real people looking at those reports and making the decisions", but sometimes automated systems take over, like to address duplicate content reports and "spam attacks".
According to Facebook, for now, the new app is only available in the US.
Messages from both mobile and desktop versions of messenger/chat are having difficulties being sent or received.
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Parents approve all the friend requests.
In a company blog post, Antigone Davis - public policy director and global head of safety at Facebook - wrote that the media site has been working on the product for the past 18 months, working closely with leading child development experts, parents and educators. To get there, click on "More" on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click "Messenger Kids" in the Explore section. Messenger Kids is also created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). No endorsement is implied.
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