CALIFORNIA—On Tuesday, July 9, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office disclosed that charges were filed in a civil suit against NGL Labs and two of its co-founders for misleading consumers into thinking the fake computer-generated messages it sent were from real people, targeting minors, and exaggerating the extent and quality of content moderation conducted by the company to combat cyberbullying on its platform.

“NGL marketed its app to kids and teens despite knowing that it was exposing them to cyberbullying and harassment,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “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. We will keep cracking down on businesses that unlawfully exploit kids for profit.”

Launched by NGL Labs, NGL App is a social media platform installed on Apple and Android devices, which claims to enable users to receive anonymous messages from friends and contacts.

Under the proposed judgment, that still has to be reviewed and approved by the court, the company is expected to pay $5 million in civil penalties and restitution. The company would be permanently prohibited from allowing access to individuals under 18, targeting children or teens in marketing, and implying messages are from real people.

The proposed judgment mandates the use of content moderation or AI to filter out cyberbullying. The company did not admit any wrongdoing. It has been cooperative in the investigation. LADA’s Consumer Protection Division and the Federal Trade Commission are investigating this case.