A story going viral saying that the Talking Angela game led to the disappearance of 7-year-old named “Eli Moreno” is fake.
The story was published on Huzlers.com, which publishes fake news.
The hoax story reads: “Thursday morning Jasmin Moreno installed the popular app Talking Angela on her iPhone for her 7 year old son Eli Moreno to play with she noticed the Talking Angela app was asking questions that seemed very odd the Talking Angela app asked ‘Are your parents home?’ and even went as far as asking ‘What are you wearing right now?’ at the time she didn’t suspected that a child molester was on the other side of the app communicating with her young son Eli.”
Huzlers has a disclaimer at the bottom of every page, saying it’s “satire.”
“Huzlers.com is a combination of real shocking news and satire news to keep its visitors in a state of disbelief,” it reads.
The website is apparently trying to capitalize on viral letters–which have since been debunked as hoaxes–that claim the “Talking Angela” app is backed by pedophiles.
According to security expert Graham Cluley, there’s been chain letters that have been spreading false information about the “Talking Angela” game. The game has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.
“However, you *shouldn’t* believe the warnings. And, in particular, you shouldn’t share the bogus alert to your own friends and family. Because all you are doing is perpetuate a scare that is without foundation,” Cluley wrote on his website.
Security firm Sophos also debunked the letters and viral Facebook postings as fake.
It said that the hoax has been around since at least last year.
The developer of the game issued a statement to Snopes, saying that “we wish to emphasise that no personal data whatsoever is being collected from the users of our app Talking Angela, which is available as an iOS, Android and Facebook app.”
“The description clearly informs the user that one of the core functionalities of the app is chat, which requires two-way communication, where Angela (a chat bot, not a real person) answers with text and voice in English and talks to the user about a variety of subjects,” it reads.
“The data collected by the app from the user is not shared with anyone and is actually sent to Out Fit7 only in the form of an anonymized data log (no names, no numbers, no personal data). This fact is clearly disclosed within the description of the app.”
Here’s one of the bogus warning messages about the game:
“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 !!!!”