Facebook launches version of Messenger aimed at children
Facebook wants Messenger to become the default communication channel for all generations. To do this, the American firm has just launched in the United States a version of its messaging application which is only intended for children under 13, the minimum age required to register on Facebook and on the full version of Messenger. Called “Messenger Kids”, this new application aims to allow children to communicate with their parents, family and friends in a secure environment. Children cannot create a Messenger Kids account themselves or add new contacts without parental consent. For now, this app is only available on iOS. It will be available on Android and Kindle in 2018.
To create an account on the application, one of the parents must authenticate on his own Facebook account to create a mini-profile with the name and photo of his child. Once the account is created, parents can allow contacts from their friends list to communicate with their child, such as siblings, aunts and uncles, godmothers or godparents, or cousins. If a child wants to chat with a classmate, a parent must first become a friend on Facebook with their friend’s mother or father in order to approve them as a contact on Messenger Kids. However, parents cannot spy on what their children say in their chats on the app unless they ask them to show their screen.
To protect the privacy of children, they cannot be found with a search on Facebook. In addition, the American firm has implemented proactive safety filters to prevent children from sharing sexual or violent content. Facebook also manually sorted Giphy to develop a “kid-friendly” version of the GIF search engine. A Facebook team will be specially dedicated to managing reported content, in case some files fall through the cracks.
Educate a 100% Facebook generation
In order to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a text that protects the online privacy of children under 13 in the United States, Facebook will not collect data generated by children for commercial purposes, the advertisement being absent from the mobile application. Some features of the normal version of Messenger are also removed, such as location sharing and in-app purchases. Once Messenger Kids users turn 13, their accounts will not automatically convert to Facebook accounts.
However, by introducing children to Facebook from an early age, Mark Zuckerberg’s firm could encourage them to become very loyal Facebook users, which would ensure the social network a substantial windfall to send them an avalanche of targeted advertising. Facebook’s advertising revenue makes up almost all of its revenue, which stood at $ 10.33 billion in the third quarter, up 47% year-on-year. Between July and September, Facebook’s advertising revenue reached $ 10.14 billion. Mobile advertising accounts for the bulk of the company’s advertising revenue at 88%. To date, Facebook claims 2 billion monthly users on its social network and 1.3 billion monthly users on Facebook Messenger.