Facebook says it’s testing a new app to help prisoners who are re-entering society

Facebook is testing a new app called The Re-Entry to help people who are transitioning from prison back into society, reports Bloomberg. This an effort by the company to “create more products for marginalized communities.”

According to the report, some Instagram users saw a notification on the top of their feeds that read, “preparing for life after prison with community support.” The notification asked these users to click for early access to try the app and provide feedback, but Facebook says the notification shouldn’t have appeared to the public:

“We’ve been exploring different ways to help close gaps faced by those in marginalized communities across our apps,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. “This was only intended to be an internal test and we took down the notice as soon as we learned it briefly ran externally.” Facebook often experiments with service and app ideas that never materialize or morph into something else.

In June, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted the company to “start building products to advance racial justice.”

In a post from September, Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote about the company’s work on equity:

“To ensure this work is fully supported, we’ve created a dedicated product group – the Instagram Equity team – that will focus on better understanding and addressing bias in our product development and people’s experiences on Instagram. The Equity team will focus on creating fair and equitable products. This includes working with Facebook’s Responsible AI team to ensure algorithmic fairness. In addition, they’ll create new features that respond to the needs of underserved communities.”

As for now, we don’t know yet when this Re-Entry app will be available to the public, or if it ever will, but we do know that it’s something Facebook is testing as a way to resocialize prisoners back into society.

Last week, Instagram announced it’s working on a new version of the app for kids under 13, after blocking adults to DM teenagers who aren’t followed back in the app.

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