1. Home
  2. News
  3. 2018
  4. January

News in January 2018

Browse by year

2018

Browse by month

Get trending consumer news and recalls

    By entering your email, you agree to sign up for consumer news, tips and giveaways from ConsumerAffairs. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Thank you, you have successfully subscribed to our newsletter! Enjoy reading our tips and recommendations.

    Get trending consumer news and recalls

      By entering your email, you agree to sign up for consumer news, tips and giveaways from ConsumerAffairs. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Thank you, you have successfully subscribed to our newsletter! Enjoy reading our tips and recommendations.

      Health experts urge Facebook to discontinue ‘Messenger Kids’

      Children under 13 aren’t ready for social media accounts, experts say

      A group of 100 child development experts and advocates has published an open letter urging Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to shut down the site’s new messaging app aimed at kids.

      Back in December, Facebook launched the free Messenger Kids app, touting it as a safe way for kids under 13 to chat with family members and parent-approved friends.

      Since parents are given control of their child’s account, Facebook asserted that Messenger Kids would be filling a “need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want.”  

      But health experts argue that younger kids aren’t ready to have their own social media accounts and say the app should be pulled.

      Targeting younger children

      Led by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the group of experts and advocates includes psychiatrists, pediatricians, educators, parenting organizations, and the children’s music singer Raffi Cavoukian.

      "Messenger Kids is not responding to a need - it is creating one," the letter states. "It appeals primarily to children who otherwise would not have their own social media accounts," the letter reads. Another passage criticized Facebook for "targeting younger children with a new product."

      The group says children under 13 aren’t old enough to navigate the complexities of online relationships or protect their own privacy.

      “They also do not have a fully developed understanding of privacy, including what’s appropriate to share with others and who has access to their conversations, pictures, and videos,” the letter continued.

      ‘Gateway drug’

      When the app was launched, Facebook said there were “no ads” or paid content downloads inside the app. It also assured parents that their “child’s information isn’t used for ads.”

      In defense of the app, Facebook released a statement emphasizing that parents are “always in control” of their child’s activity.

      "We worked to create Messenger Kids with an advisory committee of parenting and developmental experts, as well as with families themselves and in partnership with National PTA. We continue to be focused on making Messenger Kids the best experience it can be for families," said Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, in a statement to the Washington Post.

      However, the company has been accused of using Messenger Kids as a ‘gateway drug’ to get kids hooked on social media at a younger age, making them more likely to use their service when they become teenagers and can be subjected to ad-targeting.  

      Health effects of technology

      The group says it’s “particularly irresponsible” of Facebook to launch an app geared towards preschoolers when there is growing concern about how social media use affects children’s development.

      “Already, adolescents report difficulty moderating their own social media use,” they write. “Messenger Kids will exacerbate this problem, as the anticipation of friends’ responses will be a powerful incentive for children to check – and stay on – a phone or tablet.

      “[T]he app’s overall impact on families and society is likely to be negative, normalizing social media use among young children and creating peer pressure for kids to sign up for their first account,” they said.

      “Raising children in our new digital age is difficult enough,” they added. “We ask that you do not use Facebook’s enormous reach and influence to make it even harder. Please make a strong statement that Facebook is committed to the wellbeing of children and society by pulling the plug on Messenger Kids.”

      Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg vowed to try to make users “happier” in 2018 by making certain changes to the site. Shutting down Messenger Kids would be a highly positive move, the group of experts contend.

      “Doing better is leaving younger children alone and allowing them to develop without the pressures that come with social media use,” they said.

      A group of 100 child development experts and advocates has published an open letter urging Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to shut down the site’s new messagi...
      Read lessRead more

      Target beginning same-day delivery in Florida

      Partnership with Shipt will eventually be nationwide

      Target has announced it will team with Shipt to provide same-day delivery of select groceries, consumer electronics, and other products in Florida.

      The service will begin February 1 in Tampa and South Florida. A week later, it will begin in Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, Gainesville, Gulf Shores, Jacksonville, Naples, Sarasota, Orlando, Space Coast, St. Augustine, Tallahassee, and Treasure Coast.

      Target says the new service will cover more than 6.3 million households in the state, with delivery as quickly as within one hour if requested.

      “The addition of Target stores to Shipt’s online marketplace across Florida allows us to deliver on our promise to offer quality products at great prices by making Target’s wide assortment available to our dedicated members,” said Shipt CEO Bill Smith.

      “Florida’s growing community of Shipt members continues to be loyal and enthusiastic about the service, and we look forward to expanding throughout the state with our newest retail partner, Target.”

      Target acquiring Shipt

      Target announced last month it is acquiring Shipt for $550 million in cash. At the time, it made clear that the combination would be a key element of the retailer's expansion of delivery capability, helping it to compete with Amazon and Walmart.

      Target said the acquisition of Shipt would help it increase its digital fulfillment efforts by bringing same-day delivery services to approximately half of Target stores by early 2018. The company said it expects the service will be available at the majority of its stores, in all major markets, before the 2018 holiday shopping season.

      In this beginning phase, Target said deliveries will be limited to the products in the Florida test market. By the end of next year, it said it expects same-day delivery will include all major product categories at Target.

      Top priority

      “Same-day delivery was at the top of our list when we were thinking about ways to make shopping at Target even easier,” said John Mulligan, Target's executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Shipt’s personalized, customer-focused approach fits perfectly with our commitment to deliver a convenient, exceptional experience and we’re excited to begin offering same day service in Florida.”

      Shipt hires shoppers to pick up items ordered by its members, who pay a $99 per year membership fee. It currently operates in 72 U.S. markets.

      Amazon offers same day delivery to Prime members on orders of $35 or more. Walmart offers same day pick-up on grocery orders.

      Target has announced it will team with Shipt to provide same-day delivery of select groceries, consumer electronics, and other products in Florida.The...
      Read lessRead more