Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on July 10, 2024
Los Angeles-based NGL Labs Charged in Consumer Protection Lawsuit Tied to Minors' Safety and Cyberbullying RisksSource: Unsplash/Wesley Tingey

In a move that speaks to the era's growing attention on digital consumer protection, particularly among the youth, NGL Labs finds itself in the legal limelight. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced charges against NGL Labs and its cofounders. Accusations include deceiving consumers, specifically by targeting minors and overstating the company’s effort in combating cyberbullying through its popular NGL App.

"The anonymity provided by the app can facilitate rampant cyberbullying among teens, causing untold harm to our young people," District Attorney George Gascón stated, as per the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

In response to these charges, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Chair Lina M. Khan underscored the recklessness of the company's approach. "NGL marketed its app to kids and teens despite knowing that it was exposing them to cyberbullying and harassment," she said, her words cutting through the company’s claimed innocence. The FTC's recommended ban reflects a hardened stance against corporate exploitation of children.

Following the charges, the proposed judgment, which has yet to receive court approval, outlines a $5 million payout from NGL Labs in civil penalties and restitution, as reported by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. Hit with this significant sum, NGL is expected to recalibrate its operations significantly. This includes a permanent ban on access for individuals under 18, changes in marketing strategies, and the implementation of content moderation and AI to filter cyberbullying – a no-nonsense approach to a problem that has festered under the guise of anonymity.