What does Facebook do? The social media giant tracks more humanity activity on planet earth than anyone except maybe God himself. Or Google. Nobody does it better, thanks to a few billion regular users who don’t know what is going on.
Facebook knows more about you and your online habits than probably anyone except Google. Both companies have compiled a dossier of sorts after tracking where you go, what you do, who you like, what you search for, but Facebook has taken the online stalking to a new level. Your kids.
Have you ever done what you thought was a good deed that came undone? As they say, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Well, late last year Facebook decided that pre-teens might be using unauthorized and certainly unsupervised social media accounts.
Translation: “Don’t use anything else but Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, et al, kids because it’s bad for your online health (and ours).”
Enter Facebook’s answer to the problem Facebook created. Messenger Kids. Think of it as Facebook Messenger for elementary school kids.
Facebook says it built Messenger Kids, a new version of its popular communications app with parental controls, to help safeguard pre-teens who may be using unauthorized and unsupervised social-media accounts. Critics think Facebook is targeting children as young as 6 to hook them on its services.
Really? What would happen if Apple did something so public and so blatant? Apple throttled older iPhones so they wouldn’t be prone to crash when batteries became old and tired and now has dozens of lawsuits to manage. Would Apple not be skewered if it sold an iPhone for Kids?
So, why is Facebook doing the child predator thing? To get younger human beings hooked on Facebook in the most Fisher Price way possible. Their own app and their own likes and their own compatriots to follow and their own apps for kids. The part I like best is this:
Facebook says Messenger Kids will not display ads, nor collect data on kids for advertising purposes. Kids’ accounts will not automatically be rolled into Facebook accounts once they turn 13.
What’s the key word? Go ahead. you can find it. “Automatically.” You know that after a few years of using Facebook Messenger that kids will become automatically more responsible humans and therefore be ripe for Facebook selection as full-fledged members of their online community, right? And what does that mean? Advertising, tracking, data collection, etc.
Is Facebook doing all this out of kindness for children?
The company will collect the content of children’s messages, photos they send, what features they use on the app, and information about the device they use.
Tech companies have made a much more aggressive push into targeting younger users, a strategy that began in earnest in 2015 when Google launched YouTube Kids
See? This kind of tracking and stalking falls below cute and colorful logos from brands we know and use but what they all want to do to children is what they’re doing to adults already.
What if Apple did what Facebook and Google do?
Would the media be outraged if Apple paid reviewers to review new Apple products or services? That would almost be criminal and Apple’s executives would find themselves in a Senate hearing in a week. What about Facebook, which says it worked closely with leading experts to ensure Facebook Messenger for Kids would help safeguard children. Well, as it turns out, Facebook avoided the critical analysis of some experts, and funded those so-called experts that thought Messenger for Kids was a good idea.
What would happen if Apple did what Facebook did with Messenger for Kids? Apple was ripped apart by critics and media for doing the right thing in Batterygate but doing it the wrong way. Where is the same outrage for Facebook Happy Meals for kids?