NGL Messaging App Banned for Under 18s

NGL Messaging App Banned for Under 18s

Adriana Silva
3 min read

NGL App Faces Restrictions on Teen Users

NGL, the anonymous messaging app, has announced it will no longer be available to users under the age of 18. This decision follows an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, aimed at enhancing the privacy and safety of minors. This development is part of a broader initiative to regulate applications that potentially threaten the well-being of young users.

NGL faced multiple allegations, including misleading young users into purchasing the app by sending fake messages, creating the illusion of real human interaction. Despite a weekly fee of $9.99, users did not receive the promised content, only vague indications of the message senders. Furthermore, NGL falsely claimed to have AI tools to filter negative content such as cyberbullying. The app became associated with bullying, with some users reporting self-harm and suicide attempts linked to its negative influence. Additionally, NGL violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by failing to obtain parental consent for users under 13. As part of the settlement, NGL must pay a $5 million penalty and cease offering the app to minors. The app's founders believe this agreement will lead to improvements and set a standard for similar applications.

The FTC unanimously supported the complaint and settlement, although two Republican commissioners noted that this case should not be seen as a ban on all anonymous messaging apps for teenagers. They acknowledged the potential benefits of anonymity, such as protection from online harassment and the encouragement to seek help. Users under 18 will no longer have access to NGL, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing safety in the use of technology. Further updates on this story will follow.

Key Takeaways

  • NGL app banned for users under 18 due to FTC settlement.
  • App tricked teens into paid subscriptions with fake messages.
  • Cyberbullying rampant, despite AI moderation claims.
  • NGL violated COPPA by not obtaining parental consent for under-13s.
  • $5 million settlement includes age-gating and data deletion policies.


The settlement between NGL and the FTC, along with the LA DA's Office, has significant implications for investors and competitors, reshaping the anonymous messaging market. The $5 million penalty underscores regulatory scrutiny on tech privacy and safety. In the short term, NGL faces reputational harm and user attrition, while in the long run, the ban sets a precedent for application moderation and age restrictions. This could lead to stricter industry standards and increased compliance costs.

Did You Know?

  • NGL App Ban for Users Under 18 Due to FTC Settlement
    • The NGL app has been banned for users under 18 following a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. This ban is a result of the app's violations concerning privacy and safety issues targeted at minors. The settlement underscores the FTC's commitment to enforcing regulations that protect children's online privacy and safety, particularly in the context of digital apps and services.
  • App Tricked Teens into Paid Subscriptions with Fake Messages
    • NGL allegedly used deceptive practices to encourage young users to subscribe to their app by sending them fake messages that appeared to be from real people. This tactic was designed to create a sense of popularity and engagement, prompting users to pay up to $9.99 a week for access. However, the paid service did not deliver the promised interactions, leading to consumer fraud allegations.
  • Cyberbullying Rampant, Despite AI Moderation Claims
    • Despite claims of employing AI tools to filter out harmful content like cyberbullying, the NGL app was found to be a platform where bullying was prevalent. This discrepancy between the app's claims and its actual performance highlights the challenges in effectively moderating user-generated content, especially in anonymous messaging environments. It also raises questions about the reliability and effectiveness of AI in content moderation for social platforms.

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