The Ashley Madison bots

Gizmodo has looked even closer at the data from , and it turns out that not only were they very few women, many of them were bots.

In a summary they have found:

  • 70,000 female bots would take over accounts created by staff, and “chat” to men
  • The bots sent 20,269,675 messages to men and 1,492 to women
  • There were 70,529 female bots and 43 male ones
  • Around two thirds of male users were messaged by a bot and one third chatted up by one
  • At first the bots tried chatting up gay men and had to be programmed to ignore them!
  • There were special bots who would chat to those who paid $250 for a “guaranteed affair”. Once they paid, they were passed to an “affiliate”, probably an escort.
  • Engineers actually looked at a system where women would get paid a commission for getting men to buy credits to talk to them
  • The bots could speak 31 different languages

So really the website was a giant fraud. While the data hack was despicable in that it revealed individual’s data, it has exposed that the website was basically a scam. Not media gave the company masses amount of free publicity, based on the company’s own claims. Perhaps there is a lesson that media should never just promote a company that claims they are successful, without verifying it.

It will be interesting to see if the executives are prosecuted for fraud. There would seem to be a pretty good case for it.

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