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Messenger Kids advocates got Facebook funding: Report

IANS  |  San Francisco 

Most experts who vetted Facebook's Kids -- a video calling and messaging app designed for the under 13s -- received funding from the giant, has reported.

When rolled out the app for children in December 2017, the company claimed it had worked closely with leading experts in order to safeguard younger users. But what it did not mention was that many of those experts received funding, said the report on Wednesday.

"After talking to thousands of parents, associations like and parenting experts in the US, we found that there's a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want," Loren Cheng, the Facebook's Product Management Director, said in a statement at the time of the app's roll out.

stressed that the app was "co-developed" with parents, kids and experts through conversations with organisations like National PTA, and an advisory board with more than a dozen experts, from groups such as the for Emotional Intelligence, Connect Safely, and

reports has detailed Facebook's financial ties with some of these organisations and experts.

"At least seven members of Facebook's 13-person advisory board have some kind of financial tie to the company," the report said.

The said Facebook donated money for the first time in 2017, which the organisation used to fund a survey and roundtables.

The report, however, noted that funding from Facebook might not have affected the feedback or research around Kids.

The advisers who spoke to WIRED offered thoughtful perspectives often supported by research.

"It is important that families are armed with resources and tools to help them take advantage of the opportunities that the digital world offers while building good digital habits and ensuring children have the skills they need to be responsible online," was quoted as saying.

Since its launch in December 2017, Kids is facing widespread criticism for encouraging children to join

British in December warned the giant to stay away from his children.

"Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children. Stay away from my kids please Facebook and act responsibly!" Hunt posted on

On January 30, more than 100 child health experts urged Facebook to withdraw the app.

In an open letter to Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, the experts said that the "younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts".

"We are writing to urge you to discontinue Messenger Kids, Facebook's first designed specifically for children under the age of 13," said the letter signed by doctors, educators and child health experts and several organisations, chief among which is the US-based Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 13:12 IST