Lawmakers both Republican and Democrat, mayors, judges, NASA folks, billionaires, school employees, White House workers, military personnel, theologians, and ministers — seems like everybody and their granddad had an account. One of the weird revelations from Annalee Newitz’s research is that female users on Ashley Madison had a much better chance of connecting with real people because they were not the target of fembot activity — especially if they weren’t looking for straight men. Beyond reputational damage, Ashley Madison will likely face legal battles. The company’s failure to protect customer data is the big complaint, especially because Ashley Madison’s parent company raked in millions selling “full delete” packages that obviously didn’t work for users who wanted to shut down and remove their accounts.As Newitz reveals, “it would seem that the only members of Ashley Madison who aren’t inundated by spam and randos are women who seek trysts with other women or couples.” She concludes that “hiding in a haze of spam bots, women were connecting with each other and with men. Multiple class-action lawsuits have been filed in the U. Alas, there’s no putting this genie back in the bottle.
So where the hell was the Federal Trade Commission while what appears to be a giant scam was going on since 2001?
Experts are saying that the FTC may be investigating but not saying anything since it isn't required to make public statements.
Leaked emails reveal that when the bots, or “engagers,” as Avid Life, Ashley Madison’s parent company called them, were turned off, the number of “guests” who became paying customers slumped.
When they turned them back on, revenues went from $60,000 per month to $110,500.
Even if you screen out the obvious fake accounts, you’d still be left with a trove of info far bigger than any phone or Internet survey could deliver.
Some are wondering whether using info from a criminal hack is ethical, or even legal. Psychological researchers aren’t supposed to disclose any information about subjects that would allow someone to personally identify them.
Attorney James Ward told Forbes that the notoriety of the case makes it highly likely that action will be taken.
On the other hand, the fact that the parent company, Avid Life, is Canadian raises the question of the FTC’s jurisdiction.
If you’re a male journo who bragged of your ability to chat up women on Ashley Madison, you sound kinda stupid now. Orlando wrote a titillating piece on Your Tango of his “research” in an article, "Why Women Cheat: A Married Man Goes Undercover On Ashley Madison.” After getting the OK from his wife, despite acknowledging that he was once quite the Don Juan, Orlando gets busy.