I hope this newsletter finds you well (or at least not too bad). Because history repeats itself, there's another anonymous messaging app flooding social media feeds — and renewing concerns about cyberbullying. I'm Jordan Parker Erb, and I'm explaining it all below.
Let's get started.
1. A new anonymous messaging app is booming in popularity. NGL (shorthand for "Not Gonna Lie"), a platform for teens to send and receive anonymous messages, has raked in millions of downloads in the past few weeks. We've seen this kind of app before — and it almost never ends well.
NGL's predecessors, Ask.fm, Yik Yak, Yolo, and LMK, have each been criticized for facilitating cyberbullying and harassment. The latter three have all shut down, though Yik Yak was revived last fall.
Despite the website's assurance that it algorithmically filters out "harmful language and bullying," NBC News found some inappropriate phrases slipped through the cracks.
Still, anonymous apps have an almost irresistible appeal to young users: "I think there's a little bit of an ego thing — to think that someone might want to share something with you anonymously," one person who's used NGL told me.
Plus, grab your earbuds: Listen to me talk about the app on today's edition of The Refresh from Insider.
In other news:
2. TikTok confirmed that China-based employees can access US user data. The company corroborated BuzzFeed News' report that employees had repeatedly accessed the data, but said they can only obtain access through an "approval process." Get the rundown here.
3. If you're looking for a job in tech, you should know these people. To land a job at a fast-growing startup, it helps to know a "talent partner" — someone at a venture-capital firm like Accel or Index Ventures who specializes in hiring — so we outlined 24 must-know talent partners.
4. A former NASA official warned SpaceX's "bro culture" could cause Elon Musk to lose his lead. Lori Garver said SpaceX could struggle to recruit and maintain its workforce, saying "the best and the brightest, they aren't going to put up with behavior that is truly a distraction." Read more of her comments.
5. An Instagram account for a beagle and a cat has raked in thousands of dollars so far this year. A 27-year-old who runs an Instagram account for her pets has landed brand deals with companies like PetSmart — and has earned $22,000 so far. How she monetized her pets' account.
6. Amazon customers in Europe will now have an easier time canceling Prime than those in the US. Following complaints that Amazon's "complicated" cancelation process was in breach of the EU's consumer laws, the company has agreed to let European customers cancel their Prime memberships in just two clicks. A look at what that means.
7. After getting a Google job through Craigslist, this employee became one of its highest-ranking engineers. Michael Wiacek spent 13 years at Google, becoming one of a handful of principal engineers — the highest-ranking software engineers — at the company. He shares the biggest lessons he learned at Google.
8. Marc Andreessen says remote work will create an "earthquake" in how and where people live. The famed Silicon Valley investor and partner at venture capital fund a16z said remote work could be "a real turning point" in society's development — and that he's excited about that possibility. Here's what else he said.
Odds and ends:
9. Step up your Google Docs game with these hacks. If you regularly use Google Docs, features like translating your entire document or creating custom shortcuts can help optimize your experience. See the 11 Google Docs features that will make your life easier.
10. Opportunists are flipping Teslas for profits of up to $7,000. As EV production struggles to meet demand, some Tesla owners are selling their cars for thousands more than they spent, The Los Angeles Times reported. What we know about flipping the EVs.
What we're watching today:
Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference continues through the end of the week.
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