The Talking Angela game app remains popular despite a hoax about it being unsafe for children to use.
A number of warnings are circulating about the app, alleging that the app exposes children by taking pictures of their faces when the user pushes a heart on the bottom left corner of the screen.
The warnings also claim that the app asks children questions such as where they go to school.
A legitimate concern is that the game asks a child’s name, but this is par for the course with many apps nowadays.
Another rumor claims that the talking cat, Angela, who has a French accent, talks dirty if you ask her certain things. But many researchers have found this and other rumors to be false.
One of the viral messages claim that a person’s daughter, Angelica,
stayed at home to play the game on her iPod. Angela then asks Angelica where her brother is located and “then its voice changes and in some weird robotic voice it says angelica when u date what do u do on your dates,” the hoax message reads.
The “Talking Angela” hoax has been around since at least 2013, Sophos pointed out a year ago.
Samo Login, the co-founder and CEO of Outfit7–which developed the game–told USA Today that it’s impossible for a human to take over the game.
“It’s quite easy to get the illusion you are talking to a real person, but it’s physically impossible to have someone behind the app,” Login told the paper. He described the Facebook warnings as “ridiculous.”
As a result of the publicity, “Talking Angela” has become one of the most popular games on Google Play and the App Store.
Its Facebook page has over two million likes and over 42,000 people are talking about it. Another over 546,000 have recommended the app on Google+.
The game includes talking to Angela, who will test your knowledge on trivia quizzes. You can also buy her presents and choose her wardrobe.
The game overwhelmingly gets good reviews–out of 345,290 current reviews, 213,024 are five stars. Another 36,879 are four stars.
“The truth is that ‘Talking Angela’ appears to be entirely benign, and there are no obvious privacy concerns that differentiate it from thousands of other iPhone apps,” security firm Sophos said in its blog post.
“Indeed, the ‘Talking Angela’ app is no different from other similar popular children’s apps from reputable iOS developer Out Fit 7 Ltd, including ‘Talking Tom Cat,’ ‘Talking Ben the Dog,’ and ‘Talking Gina the Giraffe.'”
The firm did emphasize 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.