For a company that’s supposed to be keeping things on the down-low for its users, infidelity network Ashley Madison revealed a few secrets of its own this week.
Nearly a year after a hack on the site leaked more than 60 gigabytes of user data, the company is speaking out to officially announce its new CEO Rob Segal, and president James Millership, three months into their new roles. A company release spoke out on past issues with the site in hopes of regaining user trust to move beyond previous missteps.
One big, widely reported misstep: fake users. According to Ashley Madison execs, a team of “independent forensic accounting investigators” found the company had used bots to appear as female users on the site to lure men into spending money.
“My understanding is that bots are widespread in the industry, but they are no longer being used, and will not be used, at Avid Life Media and Ashley Madison,” Millership said.
The bots were discovered by Gizmodo last year, but this is the first time the company has acknowledged their use on its site.
The company claims to have discontinued the practice of using fembots on the site in North America in 2014 and internationally in 2015. It offered no evidence of this, however.
In addition to stating a new focus on rebranding, investments in technology, and a repositioning of the company in the eyes of consumers, Segal said Ashley Madison will heavily work on security enhancements and privacy safeguards.
The company partnered with Deloitte’s cyber security team “to implement new and enhanced security safeguards and 24/7 monitoring,” and will soon offer new, secure payment options for users.
“A year ago, Avid Life Media was silenced by a devastating criminal hack that affected our company and some of our members,” Segal said in the release. “The company is truly sorry for how people’s lives and relationships may have been affected by the criminal theft of personal information. That’s why we’re charting a new course and making some big changes.”