Who Posted Your Fake FCC Comment?

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So who actually posted your fake comment? And why yours?

The short answer? Broadband for America's hired hands.

According to a 2021 report from the New York Attorney General [PDF], the telecom executive-led group financed (at least) three campaigns to submit anti-Net Neutrality public comments to the FCC. The leaders of these campaigns, in turn, subcontracted other companies to gather the comments, and even paid other advocacy organizations to pretend that they were actually behind the campaigns.

However, these three campaigns ultimately submitted millions of these fake comments in bulk themselves.

Based on now-public records from the FCC and Data.gov, as well as the New York Attorney General's investigation report, these campaigns -- and responsbile parties -- are as follows:

Comment Campaign #1

Poster: Ethan Eilon (Vertical Strategies, Protecting Internet Freedom)

Method: Box.com bulk upload, Data.gov API

Identity Stealer(s): Fluent, Inc.

Sourced From: Online banner ads (DVDs, male enhancement pills, etc.)

Front Group(s): Center For Individual Freedom, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Free Our Internet

# of Comments: ~ 5 million

Fake Comment Text Templates:

Center For Individual Freedom

Free Our Internet (No web presence exists anymore)

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Comment Campaign #2

Poster: CQ Roll Call

Method: Data.gov API

Identity Stealer(s): Fluent, Inc., Opt-Intelligence, React2Media, others not named

Sourced From: internet ads for “free cash”, gift cards, product “samples”, previous data gathering campaigns

Front Group: Center For Individual Freedom

# of Comments: ~2 million

Fake Comment Text Templates:

Comment Campaign #3

Poster: Shane Cory (MediaBridge)

Method: Box.com bulk upload

Identity Stealer: LCX Digital

Sourced From: leaked database from Modern Business Solutions, previous LCX Digital comment campaign

Front Group: American Commitment

# of Comments: ~1.85 million

Fake Comment Text Templates: