Ashley Madison Admits It Lured Customers With 70,000 Fake ‘Fembots’

America’s Federal Trade Commission is now investigating the “infidelity hookup site” Ashley Madison. In a possibly-related development, an anonymous reader writes:
Ashley Madison’s new executive team “admits that it used fembots to lure men into paying to join the site,” reports Arts Technica. More than 75% of the site’s customers were convinced to join by an army of 70,000 fembot accounts, “created in dozens of languages by data entry workers…told to populate these accounts with fake information and real photos posted by women who had shut down their accounts on Ashley Madison or other properties owned by Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media… In reality, that lady was a few lines of PHP… In internal company e-mails, executives discussed openly that only about five percent of the site’s members were real females.”

The company only abandoned the practice in 2015, and CNN also reports that for years, if the site’s male customers complained, Ashley Madison “threatened to send paperwork to users’ homes if they disputed their bills — potentially revealing cheaters to their spouses,” while one user complained that the site also automatically signed up customers for recurring billing. “We are not threatening you. We are laying the facts to you…” one e-mail read, while another warned that “We do fight all charge backs.”

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