US Government Bans NGL From Hosting Kids And Teens

A popular anonymous messaging app with teens as its target audience has been banned by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from hosting anyone below 18 years of age on the platform. 

NGL, or Not Gonna Lie, is a popular app among teens and kids. The FTC and Los Angeles District Attorney’s office alleged in a complaint unveiled Tuesday that the platform aggressively marketed to young people despite the risk of being bullied on the anonymous platforms. The complaint also alleged that NGL tricked its users into paying $9.99 per week. As per the complaint, the platform sent computer-generated messages to users and then asked them to identify the person. People who signed up for the $9.99 per week plan were only given hints about the identity of the ‘person’ messaging. 

Now, the platform has agreed to pay a settlement of around $5 million for the lawsuit and has been banned from hosting kids and teens on the platform. The lawsuit also mentioned that the app violated children’s privacy law by collecting information about kids below 13 without parental consent, which is a federal crime. 

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This is a special case as this marks the first time a digital platform has been banned from hosting kids and teens. Though US officials have made similar accusations against other digital social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and YouTube, they haven’t been able to make such significant progress with the big platforms. 

Moreover, this verdict comes after a two-year investigation conducted by the FTC, in which it found that NGL received multiple complaints from parents and guardians stating that using the app has led to instances of self-harm and even suicide attempts in Kids. However, the app did not make “any changes to the design” or the marketing of the app, said FTC in a filing. What is even more disturbing is that when a handful of C-suite employees saw the emails, one of them replied with “ Lol Suckers,” according to the FTC. 

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