The app, designed for children under 13 years old, was made available on the Apple Store in December 2017 and has since then also made its way to Amazon.More news: Egypt says foreigners arrested amid Sinai operation
Children can use Messenger Kids to talk to friends and family members via text-based chat and video calls and parents have full control over who they can contact. "We have been very clear that there is no advertising in Messenger Kids".
Unlike the regular Messenger app, the Kids version does not ask for a phone number or need a Facebook account. When the child initiates a chat, or someone tries to chat with the child, the app notifies the parent before the conversation can begin.More news: Now, Israeli PM Netanyahu faces corruption charges, refuses to quit
Created to be a fun space for kids, the app lets users video call grandparents and use stickers or GIFs to play and make amusing faces, exchange birthday wishes and decorated photos with other children - provided that both sets of parents have authorized the connection.
But Facebook claims that it as an easier and safer way for kids to video chat and message with family and friends when they can't be together in person, and said the product had been co-developed with parents, kids and experts.More news: Syria 'repels' Israeli spy plane days after fighter jet was downed
More than 100 child advocates and experts-including groups like the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, ACLU of MA, and Parents Across America-have called the app "irresponsible", especially in light of research indicating that excessive use of social media is detrimental to children and teens.