Facebook does not allow children under the age of 13 to use the current platform. However, it does not have good methods to ensure that people below the set age limit are not able to create accounts on the platform. Researchers estimate that more than 20 million children below the age of 13 have accounts on the platform. Facebook realized the need to create a product that will address the needs of the users belonging to this segment. It is the reason why the social media giant went ahead to create a First app targeting the segment. The application features a ring fence which will require a child to acquire approval from their parent or guardian before using the platform. The firm promised that it would not collect data using the application and use it for advertising. However, it confirmed that it would collect data on the usage of the application. It stated that it could share this information with third parties who comply with Coppa regulations. Coppa is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that is applicable in the US.
The application is just a simplified version of the one which is available for use by people who are over the age of 13 years. The product manager of the application said that there is an increasing concern from the parents on the applications that children can access when they are using their tablets and phones. The firm went ahead to address these concerns by developing the application.
Adding a friend using the application will not be as easy as in the ‘adult version.’ For example, when two users on the platform want to become friends, the parent of each user has to approve. The feature is to ensure the safety of the children when using the social media platform. After they become friends successfully, they can perform activities normally just as in the adult version. The activities include live video chatting, texting and sending pictures to each other.
The application has a library that is suitable for kids. The library will include appropriate frames, GIFs, masks, stickers, and drawing tools among others. People using the ‘adult version’ of messenger can contact kids directly on the platform using the ‘adult version’ of the Messenger application. However, they need to get approval from the kid’s parents or guardians too.