The FTC Cracks Down on NGL, an Anonymous Teen Messaging App


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken a decisive action against NGL, a popular anonymous messaging app primarily used by teenagers. The agency has banned NGL for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by failing to protect children's personal information. This move marks a significant blow to the company and a warning shot to other apps that target children.

COPPA Violation and FTC's Investigation

COPPA requires operators of online services and websites to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under 13. However, NGL failed to comply with this law, allowing teens to create accounts and share sensitive information without parental knowledge or approval.

The FTC launched an investigation into NGL after receiving complaints from parents and privacy advocates. The investigation uncovered numerous COPPA violations, including:

  • NGL collected children's personal information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and birthdates, without parental consent.
  • The app used this information to target children with personalized ads and track their online activity.
  • NGL failed to provide adequate notice to parents about its data collection practices and failed to respond promptly to parental requests for information.

FTC's Enforcement Action

In response to these violations, the FTC imposed a $1.9 million civil penalty on NGL. The company is also permanently banned from operating NGL or any other online service directed at children. Additionally, NGL is required to delete all personal information collected from children under 13.

Impact on NGL and Other Apps

The FTC's action has a significant impact on NGL, which claimed to have over 10 million users. The app has been removed from the Apple and Google app stores, and its website is no longer operational. This ban effectively prohibits NGL from operating in the United States.

The FTC's action also sends a strong message to other companies that develop apps for children. The agency is closely monitoring the online space and will not hesitate to take action against companies that violate COPPA or other child privacy laws.

Importance of Parental Consent and Privacy Protections

The FTC's enforcement action underscores the importance of parental consent when it comes to children's online activities. Parents should be aware of the risks associated with online apps and services and should take steps to protect their children's privacy.

Companies that target children must comply with COPPA and other privacy laws to protect children's personal information. They must obtain parental consent before collecting any data, provide clear notice about data collection practices, and respond promptly to parental requests.

What Parents and Children Can Do

Parents should talk to their children about online safety and privacy. They should monitor their children's online activities and teach them about the importance of protecting personal information. Parents can also use parental control software to block access to inappropriate websites and apps.

Children should be aware that not all online apps are safe. They should only use apps that are approved by their parents and should never share personal information with someone they don't know.


The FTC's ban on NGL is a landmark decision that strengthens protections for children's online privacy. It sends a clear message that companies must comply with COPPA and take children's privacy seriously. The action also serves as a reminder to parents and children that online safety and privacy should be a priority.

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