Ashley Madison attracted male customers with the claim that 30%—or 5.5 million—of its profiles belonged to women. In reality, as few as 12,000 real women may have been active on the site, according to a class-action lawsuit that's just hit Ashley Madison parent company Avid Life Media. David Poyet is suing for $5 million in damages, claiming the site "went to extreme measures to fraudulently lure in and profit from customers," including "creating over 70,000 female bots to send male users millions of fake messages," report TMZ and Courthouse News. Since users are charged "credits" for each communication with another user, Poyet alleges he and others were paying Ashley Madison simply to talk to its "army of fembots."
The complaint notes computer code, part of a mass leak in August, reads "host bot mother creates engagers; [and] birth has been given! let the engager find itself a man!" In other words, the site "purposefully induced members ... to engage with the fake profiles by sending out the initial communication to members. This directly caused members to incur costs while believing it was an actual person communicating with them," the complaint states. Avid Life has yet to respond. Ashley Madison users who had their names made public in the leak are still feeling the burn, the New York Post reports: Extortionists have been threatening to post a user's membership to his or her Facebook page unless they're sent $500. (Ashley Madison also used fake female CEOs.)