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AG report: Millions of fake comments submitted during net neutrality repeal

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Carolyn Kaster / AP
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Protesters Sammi LeMaster and Katherine Fuchs carry the top of an alarm clock display that reads "Net Neutrality" after a demonstration at the Federal Communications Commission in December 2017.

The Office of New York Attorney General Letitia James 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.

“Americans' voices are being drowned out by masses of fake comments and messages being submitted to the government to sway decision-making,” said James. “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."

James said her office is "cracking down on this illegal and disceptive behavior" and will continue to "shine on spotlight on abuses and disinformation."

The Federal Communications Commission's contentious 2017 repeal during the Trump administration undid Obama-era rules that the broadband industry had sued to stop. 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, alone, submitted 7.7 million fake comments.

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