FTC Looking Into Cheating Site for Deceptive Practices

Posted on in Divorce

Geneva family law attorneyIt seems that adultery is all around us. Movies and TV shows, celebrities, professional athletes, and politicians are constantly reminding us that cheating is a serious problem in American marriages. It is estimated that 30 to 60 percent of married people will have an extramarital affair at least once in the course of a marriage. The pain and heartache that comes from finding out that your spouse has been unfaithful to you can often be the beginning of the end of your marriage, and pave the way for a divorce.

 The Age of the Internet Has Made Cheating Easier Than Ever

Sixty years ago, when Alfred Kinsey conducted his ground-breaking study on American’s relationships and sex lives, the definition of cheating was much clearer than it is today. Interactive websites where individuals can chat with others protected by distance and anonymity has blurred the line as to what counts as cheating.  Does casually flirting through text messages or in a chat room count?  Does sharing explicit pictures or videos but not meeting in real life constitute an affair?

Last year, the website Ashley Madison made national headlines after millions of members’ personal identifying information was leaked by hackers. This website was one specifically structured to help people cheat on their partners. The website’s motto “Life is short. Have an Affair” left little to the imagination about the intentions of those who signed up for an account.  Now, as the fallout from the data breach continues to settle, Ashley Madison is attempting to rebrand itself in the midst of an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Federal Trade Commission Investigating Cheating Site’s Use of Chat Bots

The FTC is looking into business practices that were apparently designed to deceive users of the site and encourage them to sign up for a paid membership. Ashley Madison used so-called “fembots” to lure men into becoming paying customers.  People looking for an extramarital affair would log on to the website and be messaged by what appeared to be a woman looking for the same thing. When the unsuspecting user attempted to respond to the alleged woman, he or she would be prompted to enter payment to order to access that feature of the website. In most cases, the “woman” was nothing more than a computer program that knew a few introductory phrases.

 Avid Life Media—the company that owns Ashely Madison—claims that such bots are no longer being used on their websites. The company is also changing its strategy and targeting a larger demographic.  The president of Avid Life Media reports that the company’s new goal is to “build the world’s most open-minded dating community,” and has started to do by opening Ashley Madison to singles in addition to those in relationships. The site, however, still claims to be judgment-free of users looking for an affair.

Has Cheating Broken Your Marriage? 

While many couples are able to work through episodes of infidelity, for others, cheating signals the end of a marriage. If you are considering a divorce due to adultery or for any other reason, contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney for assistance. Call 630-232-9700 today to schedule a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates.



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