Facebook is expanding its controversial Messenger Kids app beyond the U.S. and into Canada and Peru, the company announced today. Messenger Kids will now also be made available in Spanish and French in all three of its available markets.

With well over 1 billion users, Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world. And one way Facebook has sought to increase its stickiness further is by opening the platform to kids via their own standalone app. Messenger Kids originally launched for kids aged 6 to 12 in the U.S. last December, starting with iOS devices. Earlier this year, Messenger Kids arrived on Android, and Facebook added a new “sleep mode” feature to the service a few months back.

Above: Messenger Kids

Parents install Messenger Kids on their child’s device, with the parent able to control settings via their own Facebook account. However, the app has courted significant controversy for encouraging children to use social networks at such a young age, while a report emerged this year highlighting the fact that many of the “experts” who had vetted the original Messenger Kids app were in fact funded by Facebook.

Nonetheless, the Messenger Kids train thunders on, and the company is showing no signs of cutting the service — despite widespread concerns that digital devices and social media can have a detrimental impact on children’s emotional and cognitive development.

But wait … Facebook has been paying attention to the outrage, and the social media giant has some additional news to share today. It has developed the Messenger Kids Pledge, which is a set of…

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