As was previously reported, over one million of the comments concerning net neutrality submitted to the FCC's public platform were determined to be fake, and now it seems over 400,000 of those fake comments came from Russia.
A study has found more than 7.75 million comments were submitted from email domains attributed to FakeMailGenerator.com, and they had nearly identical wording. The FCC says some of the nearly 23 million comments on Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to gut Obama-era rules were filed under the same name more than 90 times each.
And then there were the 444,938 from Russian email addresses, which also raised eyebrows, even though it’s unclear if they were from actual Russian citizens or computer bots originating in the U.S. or elsewhere.
Both the New York attorney general and Government Accountability Office are looking into the fraudulent submissions,.
“In an era where foreign governments have indisputably tried to use the internet and social media to influence our elections, federal and state governments should be working together to ensure that malevolent actors cannot subvert our administrative agencies’ decision-making processes,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in an open letter to the FCC.
The report made no indication of who may have been behind the foreign comment submissions and presented no evidence tying them to the Russian government.
Given the fact that the rules apply to the U.S., an unusual number of comments -- 1.74 million -- were attributed to international addresses, with 444,938 from Russia and nearly as many from Germany, Emprata found. All but 25 of the emails from those countries were against repealing the 2015 rules.