‘Unsafe’ Facebook app gets revamp

A FACEBOOK application branded “unsafe” by Bolton’s education chiefs has been modified after The Bolton News revealed that schools had warned parents about it.

The local education authority issued a warning about Video Chat Rounds, a Facebook app, saying it contained “inappropriate images” and could allow young people to contact adults.

Now the app developers have removed the “meet someone new” feature.

The feature was removed on Wednesday after The Bolton News contacted the developers to give them the chance to respond to parents’ and education chiefs’ concerns about the “safety and wellbeing” of children using the application.

Rounds which developed the app said that, from now on, all of its products will allow users to video chat with their Facebook friends only.

Rounds said it provides a platform which brings the “real life hangout experience to the virtual world” allowing users to meet, chat, play games, listen to music and watch videos together.

The firm’s marketing director, Natasha Shine-Zirkel, said: “One feature that we have in the web version is called ‘meet someone new’, which allows users to meet new people.

“This was intended to match like-minded people together.

“Privacy and safety of our users is our first priority, and a subject we do not compromise on — in the last two years we have done everything within our power to keep Rounds a safe place for our community.

“We have a different pool for users in aged 13 to 18, and 18 plus. We have an integrated face detection algorithm that identifies if the users are not in the age group that they labelled themselves through Facebook, we also have an extremely harsh reporting system that bans people forever if someone reported them and we have 24/7 real-time monitoring.

“We believe these actions are above and beyond what should be expected from us.”

But she added: “With that said, and despite the fact that we are and always have been compliant with all of Facebook’s policies, we recently realised that people who do not behave properly are stronger than any technology we can implement.

“As a result of that we decided to remove the ‘meet someone new’ feature from our platform.”

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