The Talking Angela game is actually safe despite a hoax email circulating that claims it can endanger children.
The game features a talking cat named Angela who speaks in a French accent.
Users interact with Angela, taking trivia and asking her questions.
They can also dress her in different outfits or buy her gifts.
The app has shot to the top apps worldwide after the viral hoax email. It’s currently the third most popular app in the App Store after Flying Cyrus and Splashy Fish.
There’s several different versions of the warning about the game going around. One says that a paedophile can watch users through the cat’s eyes, while another says that Angela asks children personal information such as their school or address.
“Please don’t download it and warn people,” one warning urges. “It’s so scary.”
People on Twitter and Facebook are the main culprits behind sharing the messages, with people not checking the legitimacy of the claims.
“FYI if you download Takling Angela you are a complete idiot,” one Twitter user said, sharing one of the warning messages.
Samo Login, CEO of Outfit7–the company that made the game–told Vice that the way the hoaxes helped the game shoot up in popularity was unpredictable.
He said that as the app was improved one of the rumors–about a human being directly behind Angela’s actions in real-time–were likely exacerbated.
“If you say for example, ‘What do you think of One Direction?’ Angela would respond, ‘I like Justin Bieber; I’m a Belieber,’” Sidhu said. “And so people were convinced that kind of level of intelligence must be a person behind the chat bot. They couldn’t believe that those kind of responses would be generated automatically.”
Everything that Angels says comes from a script, he said.
Some of the rumors are downright outrageous, he added.
“I mean, some of the statements in the hoax bend the laws of physics,” he said. “There’s some people talking about how you can see someone in her eye—you can see someone watching through her eyeball. Despite the fact that this is a screen; it’s not a window, or a camera.”
Security firms helped debunk the hoax but are saying that despite the security concerns not being legitimate, parents should always keep a close eye on what children are doing on the Internet.
People should also be careful about what smartphone apps they install and what Facebook applications are granted access to their profiles.