An FTC investigation into the online dating service, Ashley Madison has revealed that the company deployed chat bots to lure users into purchasing premium accounts.
Infidelity site Ashley Madison took another blow on Tuesday when an FTC investigation revealed that the site utilized bots, dubbed “fembots,” to lure users into purchasing premium accounts. This comes last year’s massive security breach which revealed the personal details of millions of users who had signed up for the site’s services.
Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, claims that they began to shut down the chat bots in the United States, Canada and Australia in 2014, but some users have claimed to receive bot messages as recently as late 2015.
An Ernst & Young report commissioned by the firm behind Ashley Madison confirmed that the site had deployed chat bots for the purpose of increasing engagement with male members. This practice has proved costly for other dating sites. In 2014, a firm called JDI dating was fined more than half of a million dollars for engaging in similar practices.
Despite the concerns about Ashley Madison’s practices, insiders assume that the FTC’s proceedings will continue to be focused on last year’s date breach rather than the site’s use of chat bots.
“The FTC is very focused on this data breach issue at this point,” he said. “I’m not surprised that they are continuing to look at, possibly, Ashley Madison,” claimed Lawrence Walters, an attorney who is well-versed in legal precedent for online dating sites.