Statement from CCFC on Facebook Messenger Kids App Expansion to Android

Date of Release: 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Contact:
David Monahan, CCFC (david@commercialfreechildhood.org; 617-896-9397)

Statement from CCFC on Facebook Messenger Kids App Expansion to Android 
Facebook is ignoring concerns of experts about harms linked to children’s social media use

Boston – Wednesday, February 14, 2018 

Statement of Josh Golin, Executive Director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

Today, Facebook rolled out an Android version of its Messenger Kids app, the first major social platform designed specifically for young children. Two weeks ago, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) sent Facebook a letter signed by 117 public health advocates calling on the company to pull the plug on this app, citing the ways it will undermine children’s healthy development. CCFC also launched a petition calling on Facebook to scrap the app. 

CCFC has yet to receive any direct response from Facebook, and the company has not, to the best of our knowledge, actively engaged any of the letter’s signatories about the concerns we raised. It is disturbing that Facebook, in the face of widespread concern, is aggressively marketing Messenger Kids to even more children. Facebook’s decision to double down on Messenger Kids without consideration for the concerns raised by child development experts reveals that the company is far more interested in increasing its market share than in having a constructive dialogue about what is best for children.

As Wired reported today, prior to launching Messenger Kids, Facebook consulted only with experts who were likely to support its decision to launch this social media platform for young kids. Many of these advisers receive funding from Facebook. It appears that Facebook is unwilling to listen to, or even engage with, critics who do not believe the world’s biggest social media company should be actively courting young children.

###