In 2014, the agency fined JDI Dating, a group of 18 dating sites, for messaging visitors from computer-generated “profiles,” and then charging them money to respond. A spokesman for the British Information Commissioner’s Office said that, despite a popular BBC documentary that raised concerns about the practice in 2013, the ICO eventually concluded that policing fake-profiles wasn’t a priority. (They were disclaimed, of course, in the company’s small print, where AM explained the program was just an attempt to “provide entertainment.”) Disgruntled ex-employees have also blown the whistle on what one described, in a 2013 legal filing, as an industry-wide practice.
Meanwhile, if you’re peddling run-of-the-mill, straight-laced dating, a la Match or e Harmony, you can just buy Facebook ads and run 10-second spots on TV.
But this massive data breach could have widespread implications on how we all use the Internet. (Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post) “There is, undoubtedly, widespread pseudo profiling and fake messages still going on in the industry,” Pitcher said.