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“It’s definitely pervasive.” have to to be careful of what I say,” Andrew Conru, the founder and owner of Adult Friend Finder, tells me one morning in his corner office high above San Jose. Since he launched AFF in 1995, he’s turned the site into a swinger-friendly empire that’s discreetly mainstream — boasting over 30 million members who pay a month to find “sex hookups, online sex friends or hot fuck friends.” But while Conru has enough millions to retire several times over, he’s giving a rare interview to blow the whistle on the widespread use of sexbots in the business.“The only way you can compete with fraud is you let people know it’s fraud,” he tells me.With a Google image search, one of the women turns out to be pornstar Megan Summers. Any number of spammers and hackers might have created the profile with Summers’ photo; it could be a housewife using the likeness to boost her appeal or conceal her identity. “It’s a daily slog, going through hundreds of accounts every day evaluating them and deactivating them,” he says.“It’s been a cat and mouse game for 20 years.” And it’s not a game he always wins.The company suffered a massive hack that exposed the profiles of an estimated 3.5 million members — which generated international headlines by revealing high-profile kink-seekers on Capitol Hill, in Hollywood and higher education.“I don’t know if I can disclose this,” Conru says, “but recently, I had a guy do a search to see, like, White House.gov, and we found that there are lots of .govs, and a lot of ” The company incentivizes members to prove they’re who they say they are by sending in copies of their drivers licenses in return for a “verified” button on their profiles (similar to the little blue checks on Twitter accounts).

“You can design a bot to fool fraud detection.” But, in the case of a number of dating sites, developers aren’t trying to weed out fake profiles — they are tirelessly writing scripts and algorithms to unleash more of them.” and “I might be a bit shy at first, wait til you get to know me, wink wink :)”.Bots were deployed for international markets as well.But what’s truly phenomenal is the durability of this online hustle, and the millions of saps still falling for it.“A lot of people think this only happens to dumb people, and they can tell if they’re talking to a bot,” says Steve Baker, a lead investigator for the Federal Trade Commission tells me. The people running these scams are professionals, they do this for a living.” The scam starts with creating a chat bot, which is easier than you’d think. The Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity, or ALICE, which generates scripts for chatterbots, has been around for decades.

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