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24-Feb-2016 21:23

In June, The Information reported Facebook was working on an app for teens called Talk, though that’s a bit different than this pre-teen Messenger Kids app.

While Facebook said in the briefing that the app was designed for kids age 6 to 12, younger kids are allowed on, too.

Facebook won’t be directly monetizing Messenger Kids, automatically migrating kids to real accounts when they turn 13 or collecting data so that it complies with Children’s Online Privacy Protections Act (COPPA) law.

But the app could prime kids to become lifelong Facebook users, and lock their families deeply into the platform where they’ll see ads.

So if a child wants to be able to chat with one of their classmates, their parent must first friend that kid’s parent, and then will see the option to approve that adult’s child as a contact for their own kid.

This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids, and something Facebook might be able to improve with a way for Messenger Kids to let children perhaps photograph a QR code on their playmate’s app to request that their parents connect.

When children turn 13, they won’t instantly have their Messenger Kids profiles turned into real Facebook profiles, nor will they get kicked off Messenger Kids.

They’ll still have to build a traditional Facebook account from scratch when they’re ready.

‘This works’, they said,” Facebook product management director Loren Cheng tells me.Once the parent has authenticated it with their own account, they set up a mini-profile with their kid’s name and photo.