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Vulnerability found in Facebook Messenger Kids App Exposed Kids To Strangers

Vulnerability found in Facebook Messenger Kids App Exposed Kids To Strangers

Facebook Messenger Kids was launched back in December 2017 and it’s unclear how long this bug had been present for. The app is a version of the original Facebook Messenger but instead only allows children to exchange messages with contacts approved by their parents.

It seems that Facebook has been quietly informing users about a security flaw in their app. The Facebook Messenger Kids app has a security flaw that could allow kids to chat with unapproved users. Facebook elaborated this flaw as a ‘technical glitch’ that exposed the kids to strangers.

As a rule, Facebook’s Messenger Kids App allows the parents to keep their kids safe while communicating on this platform.The parents can approve the users their kids would interact with.

While this security feature worked best for one-on-one chats, it didn’t prove useful for group chats. Group owners could add anyone to the group, even those not authorized for the minors. Thus, they were inadvertently allowed to chat with unauthorized users.

Facebook turned off the group chat feature whilst also notifying their users. However, they didn’t provide any public disclosure of the flaw.

Eventually, they sent the following statement to the affected users.

Hi,We found a technical error that allowed CHILD’s friend FRIEND to create a group chat with CHILD and one or more of FRIEND’s parent-approved friends. We want you to know that we’ve turned off this group chat and are making sure that group chats like this won’t be allowed in the future. If you have questions about Messenger Kids and online safety, please visit our Help Center and Messenger Kids parental controls. We’d also appreciate your feedback.

While they disabled the affected group chats, it is unclear as to how long the bug remained active.

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