The independent experts who favorably evaluated Facebook's "Messenger Kids" were funded by Facebook

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I don’t really care what the “experts” say about this app. I love it.

I have five kids and the older two have cellphones. The three younger ones (ages 11, 7, and 6) don’t have phones because that would be crazy. They do, however, have Kindle Fire tablets that they use on a regular basis.

I live in Oregon and my extended family lives in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. This app has given my younger kids the chance to text with - and video call - their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They can’t add new contacts to the app on their own (it has to be done through my Facebook app) so these family members, and each other, are the only people they can contact.

They have even been using it to video call each other from different rooms in my apartment, much like I used to do with walkie talkies when I was a kid.

I like this app a lot. I think it was smartly designed to keep it secure for kids but give them the chance to communicate with loved ones.

This company can’t help but indulge in sleazy business practises. A company getting supposedly independent experts who are secretly indebted to it to put a seal of approval on a product is straight out of the Edward Bernays playbook.

I’d be willing to bet that a significant number of senior FB executives aren’t letting their own kids anywhere near this.

ETA: In other shady Facebook news:


Well who wouldn’t love it? Now your kindergartner can spell LOLWTF - how many of her classmates can?

Facebook with unlimited access to your entire internet connection - now that’s scary!

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I’m so awful, old with a deteriorating memory…
There was just another piece referencing another study financed by Facebook that Facebook cited in support of some BS.
And much as I dislike Facebook – mostly for empowerment of worthless narcissism and making people even less informed – I acknowledge that it’s one of those things that was inevitable and serves a purpose. That said, it’s gone too far driven by greed, whose management ethos is nothing more than what adds to its profit is a good thing. You know, sociopathic, toxic. Then again, given its leadership, shouldn’t be surprising.

As much as I dislike Facebook I’m not sure what you expected to have happened here. Should facebook have opened its doors to external experts who would apparently out of the goodness of their own hearts come along to analyse and participate in the design process, while keeping the product confidential.

When I am designing a new product and pay a person from the Royal society for the Blind to come and assess it for accessibility purposes there is nothing nefarious going on. I’m trying to be a responsible designer. Unless I’m reading this wrong, that is what Facebook tried to do here, bring in experts to help them develop a product responsibly.

I mean, they are facebook, they are trying to make a crack machine to keep the users coming back for more. But they are doing that for all their audiences.

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