Wired: How Bots Broke The FCC’s Public Comment System

ON A SINGLE day in late May, hundreds of thousands of public comments poured into the Federal Communications Commission regarding its plans to roll back net neutrality protections. A week and a half later, on June 3, hundreds of thousands more followed. The spikes weren’t the voices of pro-net neutrality Americans, worried what will happen if the FCC allows internet service providers to block and throttle content whenever it so chooses. In fact, they weren’t really voices at all.

According to multiple researchers, more than one million of the record 22 million comments the FCC received were from bots that used natural language generation to artificially amplify the call to repeal net neutrality protections. That number may only represent a fraction of the actual bot submissions. The New York Attorney General’s office is currently investigating their source.

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