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Talking Angela App Rumors and News: Is the iOS Game Safe for Kids?

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First Posted: Feb 25, 2014 11:50 AM EST
Talking Angela
The app has been gaining a large following recently (Photo : Talking Angela)

The new app game for children, Talking Angela, has been a hot topic of debate for the last three days on social media. Is it a scam? What is the logic behind the app? How does it operate, and is it harmful to children? All these have been questions in people's minds.

"It's quite easy to get illusion you are talking to real person, but it's physically impossible to have someone behind the app" said Samo Login, co-founder and CEO of Outfit7, the company that developed the app. OutFit7 has said that since the app is based on chat bot software, it is not possible for a human to take over the talking cat Angela.

The rumors saying there were unwholesome intentions behind the app went viral, generating a lot of negative publicity. Many parents were telling their kids not to download the app Talking Angela; they thought there was a hacker sitting behind a webcam who is able to see the child and use Angela to ask personal and perverted questions. "Check your kid's tablet or phones to see if they have this app it's a pedo ring, they can see your child and hack in to their pictures and their friends," one parent wrote.

According to OutFit7, users are given the option to play the Talking Angela app in child mode, a function which is designed to protect them. Within child mode, the chat feature is disabled so Angela can respond only to touch and repeat what she hears over the microphone.  Angela does not ask questions if the option is not selected in the app's settings.

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Outfit7 does, however, collect "anonymised and obfuscated data log files" from the app: "We will be able to see how many users of each age we have, but will not be able to determine the name and age of a particular user," which the company uses to see what topics are proving popular so it can program Angela with more and better responses.

"Yes, we do collect the conversations, but we are only interested in how certain topics are accessed, and which are the most popular. We remove all the personal information -- names, addresses and so on -- on the device before transmitting the information," said Login.

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