Facebook rolls out messenger app for kids

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image:cnbc.com

When Facebook filed to go public in early 2012, Mark Zuckerberg noted that the social network wasn’t originally designed to be a company. “It was built to accomplish a social mission  to make the world more open and connected,”

The world’s biggest social media company expand into a so far untapped market of kids under 13 while also giving parents complete control over what their children see. On Monday, Facebook Inc rolled out Messenger Kids which allows users under the age of 13 to send texts, videos, and photos,  draw on the pictures they send and add stickers, its actual functionality is exactly what you would expect. Facebook normally requires users to be at least 13 years old. The new app gives it a chance to win brand loyalty from younger children at a time when it faces competition for teenagers from other social media platforms such as Snapchat.

“There’s really a gap in the market for a messaging app for kids that also gives parents control,” Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson said. “We’re going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary.”

The Social Media giant is always trying to make sure that the next generation is using its services, hence its purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp as well as its repeated efforts to clone popular features from Snapchat.

Sadly the The Messenger Kids is only available in the United States and only on iOS, or Apple operating systems. The App will be available on Android devices via the Google Play Store and Kindle version in the coming months.

Few other things to know about the Messenger Kids app:

  • Creating a Messenger Kids account is not the same as creating a Facebook account. Facebook only requires a first and last name for a Messenger Kids account, and any other data collected from the account is kept separately from Facebook’s other user data, the company claims.
  • Messenger Kids accounts are not automatically converted into Facebook accounts when children turn 13.
  • Messenger Kids won’t include any advertisements.
  • Parents won’t need to download a separate app. They can communicate with Messenger Kids users through their existing Messenger app.
  • There will not be a searchable database of Messenger Kids users. Parents will only be able to see Messenger Kids accounts connected to their own Facebook friends and can control the kid’s App.

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