NEW YORK — The Office of the New York Attorney General said in a new report that a campaign funded by the broadband industry submitted millions of fake comments supporting the 2017 repeal of net neutrality.
The Federal Communications Commission’s contentious 2017 repeal undid Obama-era rules that the broadband industry had sued to stop.
“Americans voices are being drowned out by masses of fake comments and messages being submitted to the government to sway decision-making,” said Attorney General James in a press release. “Instead of actually looking for real responses from the American people, marketing companies are luring vulnerable individuals to their websites with freebies, co-opting their identities, and fabricating responses that giant corporations are then using to influence the polices and laws that govern our lives. But, today, we are taking action to root out this fraud and the impersonation that has been corrupting the process for far too long. From net neutrality rules to laws affecting criminal justice reform, health care, and more, these fake comments have simply been generated to influence too many government policies, which is why we are cracking down on this illegal and deceptive behavior. My office will continue to shine a spotlight on abuses and disinformation and ensure those who break the law are held accountable.”
The proceeding generated a record-breaking number of comments, most of which were fake. A broadband industry group, called Broadband for America, spent $4.2 million generating more than 8.5 million of the fake FCC comments.
A California teen submitted 7.7 million fake comments using automated software.