One of the biggest revelations to come out of the Ashley Madison hack has been just how little cheating actually went down on the site. That’s because one estimate pegs the number of actual real human females on the site at 12,000 … out of 5.5 million female profiles listed. Worse yet, Gizmodo recently revealed that an additional 70,000 female accounts were actually bots, sending over 20 million messages to male members in an attempt to entice them into spending $50+ on credits.
Now Gizmodo is back with even more damning evidence that the people running Ashley Madison actively used this army of bots to trick users into thinking hot married women in their area were looking to hook up. Not only that, but they lied about it to the California Attorney General’s office, claiming any false accounts or bots were the result of outside scammers.
Why would they go so far to protect this behavior? Because it turns out that 59 percent of the men buying credits on Ashley Madison were only doing so after being contacted by a bot. Then there’s an additional 21 percent who bought credits in order to message a fake account they thought was real. That’s 80 percent of new users buying credits specifically because of Ashley Madison’s army of fembots! Another email unearthed from the document dump shows how Canadian profits nearly doubled from $60,000 to $110,000 a month when the site’s “engagers” were activated.
It actually gets worse. These bots had to get their info and pictures from somewhere, and would you be shocked to find out they were harvested from real accounts? Or at least as real as accounts get on this site. Ashley Madison used something called the “fraud-to-engager tool” to generate accounts using data pulled from inactive older accounts, including photos. The whole bot creation process was documented in a video found in an email conversation titled “how angels are made.”
It’s become quite clear at this point that Ashley Madison was cheating the cheaters, stacking the site with an army of fake users that bounced fake messages off real male users. How illegal all of this was remains to be seen – the site’s terms and conditions went through many modifications vaguely referencing the potential existence of bots like this one:
“You acknowledge and agree that any profiles of users and members, as well as, communications from such persons may not be true, accurate or authentic and may be exaggerated or fantasy. You acknowledge and understand that you may be communicating with such persons and that we are not responsible for such communications.”
Text like that might make things legal, but it certainly doesn’t make it right. Then again, since when has anything involving AshleyMadison.com been right? Should we really be shocked that a website devoted to helping married people cheat was itself being dishonest to its users? I’d say there’s a certain amount of poetic justice in learning that many of the would-be cheaters using the site ended up the ones being played.