Is Anonymous Messaging Making a Comeback?

Ariel Ariel
Jun. 17

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #118 - Making a Comeback or Going Away?. Check out the full article for more insights.


This week, an app by the name of NGL ascended to the top of the App Store in the US. Much like the overnight successes we've been seeing so much of this year (Poparazzi, BeReal, and LocketWidget, to name a few), it happened, pretty much, overnight.

Downloads of NGL, which stands for not gonna lie, grew by a ridiculous 41,500% this week. Up until last week, the seven-month-old app was lucky to get a thousand downloads a week. On Tuesday, it scored 125,000 new downloads, according to our estimates.

More downloads came from Google Play than from the App Store, but not by much. I expect that to remain the case if NGL is to continue with this popularity. Egypt was the country with the most downloads, beating the US by more than twice. Romania also beat the US in terms of downloads.

Wait, what is NGL??? It's an anonymous messaging app that wants to be used through Instagram and is promoted as a safe space for teens. I don't think Instagram + teens + anonymous can ever be considered safe. But that's what NGL claims.

A few years ago, anonymous messaging apps were all the rage. But they all, in their own way, turned into a hot mess of bullying and harassment and shut down because they couldn't fight it. Yik Yak, the poster child, is trying to make a comeback. In May, Yik Yak added fewer downloads than NGL added on Tuesday, so I'm not sure if this comeback is actually working...

The door for anonymous messaging closed a while back. Until moderation isn't a thousand times better, it's only a matter of time until the window NGL is hoping is still open closes.

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Tagged: #messaging

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