If you’ve been using Instagram lately, you’ve likely seen a new Stories feature that allows users to ask questions anonymously. But the new writing prompt, called NGL, isn’t actually a native Instagram Feature (although it may look similar to the question poster). NGL, which means “I won’t lie”, is a third-party app that claims to keep your queries anonymous. If you are wondering if the NGL link is truly Anonymous, beware of this vulnerability, because there is a way around it.
Although it’s been making the rounds on Stories since late June 2022, the NGL link isn’t a sticker created by Instagram – the links you’ve been seeing are actually from the NGL app. The NGL app, launched in November 2021, is available worldwide for Apple and Android devices. It allows you to link your IG account to the app and collect anonymously submitted questions from your followers. According to the app’s website, NGL was created as a way to give people a safe way to express their “feelings and opinions without shame”. It’s basically like Ask.FM or Formspring, if you remember those platforms from ages ago.
To keep negativity out of your inbox, NGL uses AI content moderation to filter out malicious language and bullying so users don’t have to see any unpleasant messages. The app also understands emoji usage, and can detect when emojis are being used to convey a message. This means that every time you check your messages, we hope you’ll only see non-offensive questions, Like people ask About where you got the top of the show “Get Out,” or compliments on your glamorous personality.
Before downloading the app (or submitting a question to your crush), you might be wondering if NGL is really as anonymous as it claims. I’ve tried it myself, and TBH, it passed the surface anonymity test, but if the user on the other end has an NGL Pro account, your anonymity can be a problem. Here’s a summary of how the app works, and what you need to know about whether or not anonymity is at risk.
After downloading the NGL app, enter your IG username to create a personal link to your account. Then copy the link provided and publish it to your story. Using the link in your story, your followers will be able to submit their questions by clicking on the link and going to your account’s NGL webpage.
When you’re ready to start answering some questions~, open the NGL app and go to the inbox at the top of the screen, where your messages will be waiting for you.
If you wish to submit questions to an account, you will be taken to a third party website where you can enter what you have submitted in a text box. According to the sent webpage, the messages are 100% anonymous. Although this is technically true, the app will give you hints on who submitted the comment if you have an NGL Pro account.
Is NGL really anonymous?
Here’s where your anonymity can start to fall apart. After opening the message, whoever you sent it to will see two options below the message, the first of which will read, “Who sent this”. Although the app is serious about maintaining users’ privacy, users can sign up for NGL Pro by clicking on the link, and from there, they will receive hints about who the message is. Yes, there is a loophole, and it could reveal the question being asked to the questioner.
NGL Pro costs $9.99 per week, so if someone is shelling out for that. According to the NGL website as of July 7, the app plans to offer “more specific hints” to make it easier to know who sent the message in the following weeks. It’s not clear what kind of hints the app will give, but you might want to take that into account before you tell your best friend that you’ve scratched his car in 11th grade (*raising hand and lowering it immediately*).
If the users you’re sending messages to don’t have NGL Pro, you’re in the clear. After using it a few times, it seems logical that the app doesn’t provide any indications about who sent each message. Let’s just hope no one else comes up with an intriguing secret that would make someone want to spend $9.99 to find out who it was.
Although it may not be as anonymous as you might like, NGL is still a fun way to interact with your followers without any embarrassment or pressure. As for the risk of getting caught, you will just have to decide whether sending this scam message to your liking is worth it or not. Hey, maybe they better know how you feel, right?