Anonymous 'ask me anything' chat app NGL ordered to knock it off targeting kids

Hitting youngsters with faked texts and calling them suckers is a bit of a no-no, US watchdog sniffs The US Federal Trade Commission has thrown the book at NGL Labs and its founders for allegedly breaking a depressing amount of child internet safety law....

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The US Federal Trade Commission has thrown the book at NGL Labs and its founders for allegedly breaking a depressing amount of child internet safety law. NGL Labs, founded by Raj Vir and Joao Figueiredo, in December 2021 launched a chat app also called NGL that encouraged its users to say to others: "Ask me anything." As anyone on the internet for a while knows, inviting strangers to ask others anonymous questions rarely ends well.

Each NGL user was given a personal link they could share – ostensibly with friends or on social media - through which they could exchange anonymous messages with others. The FTC subsequently claimed NGL did so many things wrong. In a statement , the watchdog's boss Lina Khan alleged the app maker "unlawfully exploit[ed] kids for profit," and accused NGL of breaking the law by advertising its anonymous Q&A app to under-18s, faking messages from seemingly real but actually nonexistent people to children to encourage subscription signups, and lying about the capabilities of its AI content moderator.



The finer details are laid out in this legal complaint [PDF] drawn up by the FTC and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. It's said the chat app was heavily marketed toward kids, and as the complaint highlights, this is a red flag as anonymous messaging and children don't mix well. NGL explicitly said its app was "a fun yet safe place" and that "young people" could "share their feelings without judgment.

" Marketing for the app featured the softwar.