It seems like the bevy of messaging apps around App Stores are still not enough to prepare teenagers to interact socially. While many are already using apps like WhatsApp, Messenger (both products of Facebook) and other apps like Snapchat, kik and so many more, Facebook still thinks that there needs to be a proprietary messaging platform for teenagers.
Latest reports confirm that Facebook has been secretly working on a new messaging platform geared towards teens called “Talk,” which is supposedly meant for a more secure and safe experience for texting. Code that is present inside the Facebook app has surfaced that has led to people speculating that Facebook is developing the new messaging app that is a different platform compared to the Messenger app. There is a list of features mentioned in the code in plain text, such as having full control over the contacts as well as a line which mentions that the user’s children can talk to them through Talk in Messenger. The app is also meant to be accessible to users below the age of 13 and those above the age will not have access to the app. The teens who use the app will not be publicly searchable, which will eliminate the possibility of them being approached by strangers in public.
The app will allow parents to monitor the usage of the app by their children and control the contacts within it. There is some concern that the parental access may prevent teens from using it as it may restrict their usage and they may not want their parents to see who they are chatting with. While the question of being safe online is still taken care of with the app, having parents gain access to the controls of the app as well may make teens a little more paranoid. The danger of strangers messaging children is already alleviated since the app will not be accessible to those above the age of 13. However, other concerns such as online bullying can also carry concerns, since that occurs even at the age of the user, which puts parental control in focus, and thus becomes a necessary evil.
Also, the app will not require the user to have a Facebook account, keeping them completely anonymous. There are also doubts that despite Facebook burying the code inside its own app that they will eventually carry forward with. The company has on occasion tested many new features without fully making them part of the app or interface. So, the materialization of the app could be just speculation for now.