The Week in Tech – Facebook Goes Kid-friendly and Google Prepares Yet Another Streaming Music Service

There’s a ton of tech news to get to! Maybe you didn’t get to it all, because who’s got time for that? Well, that’d be us — here are a handful of stories from the week that was that might affect you!

Facebook Messenger for Kids becomes available as a preview

Anything from Facebook directed at kids under 12 is going to raise eyebrows. So it goes with Facebook Messenger for Kids, the company’s first app for the under-13 crowd — although let’s not kid ourselves, kids under 13 have been and will continue to be on Facebook proper, because youngsters know well enough how to make up a fake birth date.

Facebook Messenger for Kids will be the legit alternative, and as the name implies, it’ll just be Messenger — kids won’t be able to create their own profiles. Parents can set up an account for their kids, after which kids will only be able to chat with parent-approved contacts. Kids will be able to chat or have video calls with those contacts, and Facebook has thrown in some fun Snapchatty filters and stickers to liven those calls up. The app can be downloaded now as a preview on iOS, so if the kids ended up with hand-me-down iPhones, you can give it a shot. It’s free, and Facebook says they will not include ads or in-app purchases.

It sounds simple and airtight enough to guarantee that kids won’t end up chatting with strangers, but the app is still being met with skepticism — let’s just say that at this point, not many people believe Facebook is doing anything out of the kindness of their hearts. Some members of Congress have already started raising questions about privacy — the concern, as it usually is with Facebook, is that the company will harvest data from the app to sell to marketers.

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