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Facebook Expands Messenger Kids to More Regions, Adds New Connection Options

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With most schools shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook is making Facebook Kids available in more regions, while it’s also providing some new tools to help kids find and connect with others in the app.

Enligt Facebook:

“Starting today, kids in more than 70 new countries around the world can use Messenger Kids, with more coming soon.”

That’s a significant expansion – up till now, Messenger Kids has only been available in the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand. Now, a lot more parents will have the option of downloading the app for their kids – which will no doubt also spark a whole new round of privacy concerns around the app.

Messenger Kids has, overall, maintained a fairly good record on this front since being lanseras in December 2017, though an issue with its group chats feature was identified last July. As reported by Gränsen, a technical flaw enabled unauthorized users to connect with kids in the app. There was no specific evidence that this issue was exploited, as such, and Facebook has since resolved the problem, but it served as a reminder of the potential risks associated with any social app, even one with user security front of mind, like Messenger Kids.

That said, digital literacy is also an increasingly important element of kids’ lives, and it does make sense that Messenger Kids provides some educational value in this respect, in addition to being a connective tool for youngsters.

Along with the expanded rollout, Facebook is also adding some new connection tools in the app. 

First, Facebook is launching a new ‘Supervised Friending’ option that will enable parents to let their kids accept, reject, add or remove their own contacts in the app, with parents maintaining the ability to override any new contact approvals from the Parent Dashboard in the app.

Messenger Kids

Up till now, parents had to invite and approve every contact for their child within the app, but this new option will enable them to give their children a little more leeway, while still maintaining oversight of their activity.

In addition to this, Facebook is also adding a new option which will enable parents to approve another parent or adult to supervise certain groups within the app.

Messenger Kids

As explained by Facebook:

“Kids often build community through their classes at school, participating in a team sport or other extracurricular activities. Just as parents allow a teacher or coach to help their child navigate classroom or team friendships, this new feature gives parents the choice to approve a similar adult to help connect their child with other kids through a group in Messenger Kids. These approved adults can only connect kids whose parents have also granted this adult the same approval.”

It does seem like a potential risk in the broader supervision and security of the app, but the impetus makes sense. Through this tool, teachers could create a student group for their class, which could come in particularly handy amid the current lockdowns.

And lastly, Facebook is also adding a new option which will enable parents to display their child’s name and profile photo to “friends of their child’s contacts and their parents, kids of the parent’s Facebook friends, and kids of people parents invite to download the Messenger Kids app”. 

Messenger Kids

The idea here is that it will enable kids to find more of their classmates and friends, again under a level of supervision and restriction. 

All of these new additions will initially only be available in the US (with the exception of the last update above, which will be available in the US, Canada and Latin America), with expanded rollouts planned in the near future. This will give Facebook a chance to test for any potential flaws, and ensure that its systems are working as expected.

As noted, there are risks with any social app, and many won’t see Messenger Kids as being worth it, but there are also benefits to kids learning how the social media landscape functions.

It won’t be for everyone, but with kids stuck at home, and missing out on critical social connection, it could be worth consideration.

You can read a full list of the regions where Messenger Kids is now available här

Socialmediatoday.com

SOCIAL

Twitter utökar innehållsrekommendationer, visar användare fler tweets från profiler de inte följer

Publicerad

Twitter Expands Content Recommendations, Showing Users More Tweets from Profiles They Don’t Follow

Suddenly seeing a heap more random accounts appear in your Twitter feed?

This is why – today, Twitter ramped up its tweet recommendations for a heap more users.

So you’re going to see more tweets in your feed based on things like:

  • Interests based on tweet activity
  • Topics you follow
  • Tweets you’ve engaged with
  • Tweets people in your network like
  • People followed by people you follow

There’s a heap of expanded exposure potential here, and Twitter, in an effort to juice engagement, is looking to keep people in the app for as long as possible, which, ideally, these recommendations will facilitate.

It’s similar to how Facebook and Instagram are now showing you more AI-based content recommendations, which stems from TikTok, and its focus on highlighting the most relevant content to each user, which is not directly tied to your own social graph.

There was a time when your social graph was the defining factor, which gave Facebook a huge advantage, but now, there’s been a bigger shift towards entertainment over social interaction, which expands the potential to show each user more interesting content, from a much broader range of sources.

Conceptually it makes sense, but it’s largely reliant on the platform algorithms being actually good at showing you the best content, based on your interests. TikTok is very good at this, hooking into your expressed likes and dislikes based on your viewing history.

Twitter, however, not so much.

In my experience, Twitter’s recommended topics are always pretty far off, and even within those topics, the tweets it highlights tend to also be off-topic, uninteresting, and even just weird a lot of the time.

Right now, Twitter seems convinced that I’m interested in ‘AirBnB’, ‘skönhet Influencers’ and ‘Blink 182’. I’m not interested in any of these things, which I’ve tried to tell Twitter’s algorithms by selecting the ‘Not interested in this topic’ option – yet every time I re-open the app, they’re on my Explore page once again.

It could be worse – last month it was showing me ‘Peanuts’ comics, so I had Charlie Brown’s massive head staring back at me every time I tapped over to the Explore tab.

Again, I’ve directly told Twitter that I’m not interested, but it keeps showing them to me, while today, after this new announcement, this is what my feed currently looks like:

And they just keep coming – every time I scroll back to the top, another 20 tweets are in my feed, with 80% being recommendations.

Look, this is probably a short-term push, and maybe it helps people discover new users to follow, and helps Twitter boost engagement. But again, if you’re seeing a heap more recommendations, this is why.

Hopefully, the feedback will help Twitter refine its topic and content streams.  



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