A flaw in a Facebook program intended for children enables children and people to chat online.
The program is designed to give parents control over who their children text and video chat with online, but a bug in the software lets a contact accepted to chat to speak without the approval of their kid’s parents to another.
“We told some parents of Messenger Kids accounts users about a technical mistake we detected affecting a few of group chats,” Facebook stated in statement provided to TechNewsWorld by spokesperson Thomas Richards.
Facebook added links for the program to the FAQ, to the parent’s control centre for the software, and to some comments page.
The breakdown in control happens when a child is part of a group conversation. The child’s parents must approve any individual. In group chat this group’s organizer may invite members that are cleared to speak with the organizer but not cleared to speak. The bug in the program allows all members to talk if approved by a parent not.
The defect is a symptom of a problem that is not the alone of Facebook, observed manager at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Lorrie Faith Cranor.
Access control can be quite difficult,” she told TechNewsWorld.
“A lot of companies get it wrong in various ways, and it is just the most recent example of the way that they were not careful with their access management,” Cranor said. “We see it all of the time in the corporate world where the wrong individuals have access to something that they should not have access to because it is tough to do access control properly.”
Parents fully control the contact list and children can not connect with contacts their parent doesn’t approve.”
Facebook might have been giving a false sense of security to parents .
“They made a promise they could not deliver ,” Cranor said.
“It is pretty much impossible to protect your child from everything that is bad on the world wide web,” she continued. “Even if you can do this in your home, all they need to do is head over to some buddy’s home and be exposed to stuff. Parents will need to not assume they are going to be able to 100 percent protect their children from stuff they do not want them to see online.”
Thousands of children were abandoned with users unfamiliar to their parents in groups, according to media reports.
1 child could become a nightmare for Facebook, noted director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities at University of Southern California at Los Angeles, Karen North.
“Doing things that violate the privacy of kids and permit adults to gain access to kids is a always major deal,” she told TechNewsWorld.
This Facebook misstep is part of what appears like a stream of bad news about the business. “It is one thing after another.
“If it needs to issue cryptocurrency, it has to clean up its act so that it can be reliable on a daily basis,” she added.
Facebook last month announced that next year it plans to establish its cryptocurrency, the Libra.
“The thing about Facebook,” North added,”is that no matter how secure the communication, there is an assumption that there is a privacy issue since it’s very likely to use the data it is collecting.”