Of more than 22 million comments the Federal Communications Commission received while making rules around New York state's attorney general. What's more, millions of those comments were funded by major US broadband companies., more than 18 million were fake, according to a report from
The report, out Thursday, outlines the "fraud that dogged that rulemaking process" in 2017, when the FCC was looking at rolling back Obama-era rules intended to keep the internet open. The agency did eventuallylater that year.
"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," the report said. "Public comments can also influence legislators and the laws they enact."
According to the report, the broadband companies, which it does not outright name, funded but did not directly know about the "secret campaign" to "manufacture support" for, as it was organized by what the report called lead generators.
Broadband companies weren't the only ones creating fake comments, though. The report mentioned a 19-year-old college student working on a computer science major who submitted 7.7 million comments in support of.