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Facebook admits glitch in its Messenger app for kids allows them to chat with strangers

The app was supposed to restrict children to contacts that their parents approved

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook has admitted that a glitch in its Messenger app for kids allows them to talk with strangers.

Here's what we know

Messenger Kids is a version of the popular Facebook Messenger app that was designed to give parents control over the people with whom their children could communicate. Parents could limit messaging on the app to a pre-approved a list of contacts including family members or friends.

The app is designed for kids ages 6 to 12.

But last week, Facebook informed parents that a "technical error" had rendered all these protections worthless. This glitch allowed group chats with not just friends, but friends of friends.

According to the Verge, the message Facebook sent out read:

Hi [PARENT],
We found a technical error that allowed [CHILD]'s friend [FRIEND] to create a group chat with [CHILD] and one or more of [FRIEND]'s parent-approved friends. 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. If you have questions about Messenger Kids and online safety, please visit our Help Center and Messenger Kids parental controls. We'd also appreciate your feedback.

"We recently notified some parents of Messenger Kids account users about a technical error that we detected affecting a small number of group chats," a spokesperson for the company told CNBC, confirming that the glitch had occurred.

"We turned off the affected chats and provided parents with additional resources on Messenger Kids and online safety," the spokesperson added.

It is not clear how many children were affected by this error.

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