Fembots have plagued humanity for many years. In the 1970s, fembots attempted to seize control of a weather device before they were defeated by the Bionic Woman. And in the 1990s, fembots worked with Dr. Evil until Austin Powers was able to outwit them. Now, they’re back, luring unsuspecting men into cheating on their spouses. At least that’s what the plaintiff in a new class action against the owners of Ashley Madison alleges. (Yes, the complaint does use the word “fembots.”)
The plaintiff claims that he was lured to spend money on the site based on representations of how many women were active on it, especially after he received messages from women that required him to pay for credits to continue the conversations. Now, he believes those messages didn’t come from women at all – instead, they came from “fembots with fake profiles created by Ashley Madison.” These allegations are fueled by a recent report from a journalist who allegedly discovered that the company created fake female profiles and bots to interact with male customers. The plaintiff argues that the use of the fembots violates Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act, which outlaws unfair or deceptive trade practices.
This isn’t the first case to deal with these types of issues. Last year, the FTC reached a settlement that prohibited a UK-based company from using fake, computer-generated profiles to trick users into upgrading to paid memberships. (That case involved “virtual cupids,” which sound less sinister than – but are equally as dangerous as – fembots.) Among other things, the company agreed to pay over $600,000 to settle the case.
Whether you make misleading statements yourself or use an army of female robots to do it for you, the consequences can be pretty serious. If the Bionic Woman or Austin Powers don’t come after you, it’s likely that the FTC or a class action attorney will.