The Messenger Kids is a Facebook messaging app that is designed for children between 6 and 12 years old to chat with family members and other users with approval from their parents.
However, a design glitch in the app had been allowing users to override internal protection via the group chat system. As a result, children could join group chats with unapproved strangers.
Facebook Fixes Design Flaw
The design flaw reported by The Verge on Monday also noted that Facebook alerted the users and silently shut down these group chats. The tech firm has addressed the issue without making any public statements about the glitch.
"We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats," said a Facebook spokesperson to CNBC.
The alert, in a form of the digital letter, is addressed to the parents informing them about a technical error that allows an approved friend to create a group chat with their child and add another friend who did they not approve.
Facebook has now closed these chat groups.
"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," Facebook stated.
While the social media company said that they already fixed the issue as soon as it was discovered. It isn't clear, however, how long the glitch was active in its Messenger Kids app.
Messenger Kids Violates Children's Privacy
Since its launch in December 2017, the app has received criticisms and complaints from privacy advocate groups and legislators. A complaint that was filed at the FTC in 2018 argues that the app violates children's' privacy.
The complaint also pointed out that the app does not meet the requirements of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA because it could not assure that the person who provides the consent is the child's parent.