TechCrunch Minute: The FTC bans anonymous social app NGL from serving minors


Not gonna lie, things aren’t looking great for NGL. 

The FTC is banning NGL from serving minors or advertising to them, marking the first time that the government agency has taken this sort of action against an app.

You might recognize the app from your friends’ Instagram stories, when people post links to asking friends to send in anonymous questions. That’s basically the crux of the product – like several apps that came before it, it lets you open yourself to anonymous questions from your peers. 

NGL was supposed to be different, because it was advertised as having AI that could filter out cyberbullying, which has historically been a huge issue with anonymous apps like this. But the FTC alleges that these claims around AI content moderation are deceptive. 

In a press release, FTC chair Lina Khan said, “NGL marketed its app to kids and teens despite knowing that it was exposing them to cyberbullying and harassment. In light of NGL’s reckless disregard for kids’ safety, the FTC’s order would ban NGL from marketing or offering its app to those under 18.”

NGL has also been accused of sending fake questions, then prompting users to pay a $9.99 monthly fee to get hints on who asked those questions. As TechCrunch reported in 2022, it’s highly likely that NGL was, in fact, baiting users with these fake questions. 

What does this mean for the future of anonymous question apps? More here on the TechCrunch Minute.



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