More than a dozen telecommunications trade groups, lobbying firms, and Washington advocacy organizations are being questioned as part of an investigation into nearly 10 million fraudulent public comments sent to the FCC against net neutrality.
The millions of fraudulent comments may have helped obscure the fact that public opinion was not divided on net neutrality—nearly everyone who wrote a unique comment to the FCC opposed the repeal of net neutrality rules.
The investigation is one of the first official probes into lobbying firms offering AstroTurf lobbying, generating artificial or fraudulent grass-roots support.
A study by Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society found more than 800,000 of the comments were “semantic outliers, e.g. not part of a form letter campaign.” Continuing, “a manual analysis of 1,000 of these comments showed that 99.7 percent of the comments opposed the repeal.”