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posted by martyb on Thursday May 11 2017, @09:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the duplicitous-comments dept.

A bot is thought to be behind the posting of thousands of messages to the FCC's website, in an apparent attempt to influence the results of a public solicitation for feedback on net neutrality.

Late last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced his agency's plans to roll back an Obama-era framework for net neutrality, which rule that internet providers must treat all internet content equally.

Since then, the FCC's public comments system has been flooded with a barrage of comments -- well over half-a-million responses at the time of writing -- in part thanks to comedian John Oliver raising the issue on his weekly show on Sunday.

[...] But a sizable portion of those comments are fake, and are repeating the same manufactured response again and again:

[...] "The unprecedented regulatory power the Obama Administration imposed on the internet is smothering innovation, damaging the American economy and obstructing job creation," the comment says. "I urge the Federal Communications Commission to end the bureaucratic regulatory overreach of the internet known as Title II and restore the bipartisan light-touch regulatory consensus that enabled the internet to flourish for more than 20 years."

NotSanguine called it!

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Thursday May 11 2017, @10:10AM (4 children)

    Thanks for the shout out, DeathMonkey. I did notice the inordinately large number of identical messages, which strongly implied some sort of automation (whether that be mass emails to supportive folks, a botnet, or some automated commenting process via the API).

    But Thexalon was the first to suggest it was a bot/botnet [], so kudos should really go to (I was going to say him, but it could be her, or xe or many other pronouns. Need to be careful about that stuff. []) that individual.

    Presumably the FCC could identify the IP address(es) used to post these bogus comments and see if even some of them originate from the locales listed in the comments. However, I'd be surprised if they bothered.

    If a few of the folks whose identities have been appropriated are sufficiently annoyed, I guess someone like the EFF could try to file a class-action suit to force the FCC to remove the fake comments.

    But I suspect what will happen is that the FCC will include those comments and blather on about how much support there is for stealing from the consumers. Drain the swamp, indeed. It's business as usual.

    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday May 11 2017, @10:22AM (2 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Thursday May 11 2017, @10:22AM (#508019) Journal

    Let loose a counter bot then?

    • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Thursday May 11 2017, @12:45PM

      by coolgopher (1157) on Thursday May 11 2017, @12:45PM (#508053)

      Skynet approves of this idea.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday May 11 2017, @04:18PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday May 11 2017, @04:18PM (#508156)

      Nope. They'll just point at the bots' messages, and their own reduced funding, and declare that they cannot process any comment, therefore the decision to kill NN stands.

  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday May 11 2017, @05:34PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday May 11 2017, @05:34PM (#508201)

    For the record, I'm a male-type human, so use of "he/his/him" is perfectly correct. And I appreciate the shout-out.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.