New York Attorney General Leticia James has revealed a massive fraud perpetrated by the parent companies of CNN and MSNBC.
During the 2017 FCC decision on the repeal of Net Neutrality, almost 18 million of the 22 million comments were fake.
Nearly 8.5 million of the comments came from the group Broadband for America, which includes major internet providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Charter.
According to Fox News:
“The Office of the New York Attorney General (OAG) found that fake comments accounted for nearly 18 million of the more than 22 million comments the FCC received during its 2017 rulemaking,” the AG’s report reads. “This type of fraud has significant consequences for our democracy. Federal and state agencies rely on public comments to set standards that govern many aspects of our lives, from public health to consumer protection to the environment, and, in this case, the rules that govern how we share and consume content over the internet. Public comments can also influence legislators and the laws they enact.”
“The OAG found that millions of fake comments were submitted through a secret campaign, funded by the country’s largest broadband companies, to manufacture support for the repeal of existing net neutrality rules using lead generators,” the report continued. “And millions more were submitted by a 19- year old college student using made-up identities. The OAG also found that the FCC’s rulemaking proceeding was not unique. Some of the same parties and tactics have infected other rulemakings and processes for public engagement.”
“Today, we stopped three of these marketing companies from continuing their illegal behavior and recommended reforms to stop this type of fraud in the future,” she added. “We will continue to shine a light on abuses and disinformation that drown out the voices of the American people.”
The Trump administration’s net neutrality repeal, which the FCC referred to as the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” and which rolled back Obama-era rules, took effect on June 11, 2018. The FCC, led by then-Chairman Ajit Pai, said that their move would replace “unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations dating back to 1934 with strong consumer protections, increased transparency and common-sense regulations that will promote investment and broadband deployment.”
After a multi-year investigation, we found the nation's largest broadband companies funded a secret campaign to influence the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules — resulting in millions of fake public comments impersonating Americans.
These illegal schemes are unacceptable.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) May 6, 2021
Net Neutrality is a hot-button issue and one that the Biden administration is sure to revisit sometime in the near future.