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TechnologyFacebook Says It Spoke to FTC About Kids Chat App That Had Flaw

05:55  29 august  2019
05:55  29 august  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

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Facebook Inc. said it had spoken to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission , which recently settled with the social media giant for billion over allegations of privacy violations, about its Messenger Kids app that the company acknowledged had a flaw . “We are in regular contact with the FTC on many issues

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc acknowledged a flaw in its Messenger Kids app , weeks after two U.S. senators raised privacy concerns about the application , and said that it spoke to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission about the matter. "We are in regular contact with the FTC on many

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. said it had spoken to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which recently settled with the social media giant for $5 billion over allegations of privacy violations, about its Messenger Kids app that the company acknowledged had a flaw.

“We are in regular contact with the FTC on many issues and products, including

Messenger Kids,” Kevin Martin, the company’s vice president, U.S. public policy, wrote in a letter to Democratic Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut dated Aug. 27.

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(Reuters) - Facebook Inc acknowledged a flaw in its Messenger Kids app , weeks after two U.S. senators raised privacy concerns about the application , and said that it spoke "Based on our review, we have determined that the technical error you have inquired above arose in October 2018.

Facebook acknowledged a flaw in its Messenger Kids app , weeks after two US senators raised privacy concerns about the application , and said that it spoke to the "We are in regular contact with the FTC on many issues and products, including Messenger Kids ," Facebook Vice President Kevin

In the letter, which Markey’s office provided on Wednesday, Martin did not say when any conversations with the FTC occurred or what they were about. The flaw, which Martin called a “technical error,” allowed some children to chat with users their parents had not approved.

Spokesmen for Facebook and the FTC declined to comment.

Earlier: Facebook to Pay $5 Billion to Settle FTC Privacy Claims

Democratic FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, who voted against the settlement with Facebook, wrote in a dissenting statement that a provision of the agreement would have the effect of releasing the company from claims under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or Coppa. Chopra did not say whether any probes existed.

The company has also attracted complaints from consumer groups about its privacy practices involving children on other issues, including youngsters who charged money to their parents’ credit cards without consent.

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Facebook Inc acknowledged a flaw in its Messenger Kids app , weeks after two US senators raised privacy concerns about the application , and said that it spoke to the “We are in regular contact with the FTC on many issues and products, including Messenger Kids ,” Facebook Vice President Kevin

Facebook didn’t indicate how long the flaw was active in the app , but said it fixed the issue “as soon as it Messenger Kids has attracted scrutiny from legislators and privacy advocates since its launch in In 2018, a number of consumer groups filed a complaint with the FTC arguing the app violates

Facebook launched Messenger Kids almost two years ago for children younger than 13 -- the minimum age for having a Facebook account and the age at which the Coppa protections cease. The app has some extra privacy elements in place, such as the requirement that parents approve each friend.

Approval Loophole

That approval process had a loophole, however. Children were able to create group messages with multiple users, and while those users had to be approved to message with the group’s creator, they might not be approved to message everyone in the group, the company confirmed in the days leading up to the FTC settlement. This meant that some children were put on a group thread with strangers.

Facebook said it alerted parents and turned off affected chats. Martin wrote in his letter to the senators that the flaw in Messenger Kids had existed since last October and was discovered in June. It was fixed a day after the discovery, he added.

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A design flaw in Facebook 's Messenger Kids has exposed thousands of children to unapproved strangers on group chats . A Facebook spokesperson said that the company has notified some parents of Messenger Kids The FTC had approved a penalty of billion on Facebook following a

Facebook 's Messenger Kids had a design flaw that allowed for a situation in which a child can enter a group chat with other users - including adults - who hadn't been The Facebook spokesperson would not give an exact number of children impacted, except to say it was somewhere in the thousands.

The company believes the app complies with the law, Martin added, and Facebook is “committed to continually improving it and our safeguards.”

Facebook has a long history of complaints about privacy issues, and introducing an app for young children didn’t sit well with some critics who said the company shouldn’t be handling the private communication for elementary-school kids.

Earlier: Facebook FTC Deal Shows Need for Privacy Bill, Lawmakers Say

Markey, who was a key force behind the passage of Coppa and has repeatedly questioned the company on its children’s privacy record, said he was “particularly disappointed” that the company didn’t commit to a review of the app for other potential flaws or privacy issues.

“If Facebook wants children and parents’ trust, it has to do a lot better than this,” he said in a statement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington at btenerellabr@bloomberg.net;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Mark Niquette, John Harney

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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