Children’s app, Talking Angela, has once again found itself the victim of an online hoax, with rumors taking over Facebook saying that the app records dangerous information on the children that use it.

Talking Angela Hoax

In February, 2013, warnings appeared, claiming that the Talking Angela app was becoming too intrusive, asking children their full names, where they lived, where they went to school and took pictures of them without their complete consent.

“Warning for to all parents with children that have any electronic devices, ex: iPod, Tablets, etc…. There is a site called Talking Angela, this site asks kids questions like: there names, where they go to school and also take pictures of their faces by pushing a heart on the bottom left corner without any notices. Please check your children’s iPods and all to make sure they do not have this app!!! Please pass this message on to your friends and family members that have kids !!!!,” read one such warning.

Now, in February 2014, the hoax has resurfaced, once again claiming that Talking Angela, available for Android and iOS, is a dangerous app that puts children at risk for abduction or abuse. Many online have already dismissed the warnings as unfounded.

“I can’t even in words say what I just found out.. I am SHOCKED and want to tell and let my friends and family be made aware so they can make sure their children are safe!!!! Angelica stayed home from school today and thank GOD she did. Because she was on her ipod playing a game called talking angela, which is similar to talking tom, anyway as she is sitting next to me this interactive cat says to her hi angelica where is your brother? She says o hes right here next to me the cat says o cool, then the cat says so what do you do for fun? Ang says I don’t know, (now im being quiet and listening because I think its weird this angela cat knows she has a brother and is talking to her like a person) then its voice changes and in some weird robotic voice it says angelica when u date what do u do on your dates? She looked at me and got red in the face and said nothing, then it said stick out your touunge, ill stick mine out too, it said what are some things u can do with your tounge? I can find many things…

“So please if your KIDS use this app please shut it down. Because SOME KIDS told them the names of the school they went to and is now on red alert at the school, and please PASS this on to ALL your friends,” reads the new viral message.

What Is Talking Angela?

Developed by Outfit7, Talking Angela is just one in a series of apps for children called Talking Tom and Friends, which picture an array of animated talking animals. The series has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times and is reportedly one of the most popular apps in the world, rivaling Twitter. And the viral warnings have been found to be a hoax. Talking Angela is not a data gathering app, but it is interactive.

Some of the instructions listed on iTunes include, “Pet Talking Angela and she will be happy” and “Use the ‘Gift’ button to buy her drinks, accessories, clothes, makeup etc.” The app also boasts a new “Giggle Juice” potion that makes Angela “giggle and act silly.”

The developer has also joined in a partnership with Disney to create YouTube vidoes using the animal characters. The video, “You Get Me” by Tom and Angela has accumulated over 151 million views on Youtube.

Looking at reviews online, there does seem to be a widespread view that the Talking Angela app, while perhaps not directly harmful, is inappropriate for children. Many reviews on Amazon, for example, bring up the suspicious nature of the “funny drinks” Angela likes to have. And in the official trailer for the app, one of the characters drinks a glass of wine.

The official Talking Friends YouTube channel features strange videos of their apps, including one of Tom mimicking Tyra Banks’ angry speech from America’s Next Top Model.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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