Analysis of 22 million FCC comments show that humans love Net Neutrality and bots really, really hate it

Data analysis company Gravwell ingested 22,000,000 comments sent to the FCC's docket on Net Neutrality and posted their preliminary findings, which are that the majority of comments came from bots, and these bots oppose Net Neutrality; of the comments that appear to originate with humans, the vast majority favor Net Neutrality.

The findings confirm earlier reports that floods of anti-Net Neutrality comments were sent to the FCC in the name of dead people, or people who denied sending them (those peoples' personal data appeared to have been mined from massive data-breaches gone by).

The FCC has previously vowed to count every comment, even verifiably fraudulent ones.

The Gravwell researchers used a variety of tactics to distinguish fake comments from real ones -- for example, looking at identical comments with identical timestamps that had identical errors (like using "{STATE}" as the commenter's state of origin).

* A very small minority of comments are unique -- only 17.4% of the 22,152,276 total. The highest occurrence of a single comment was over 1 million.

* Most comments were submitted in bulk and many come in batches with obviously incorrect information -- over 1,000,000 comments in July claimed to have a pornhub.com email address

* Bot herders can be observed launching the bots -- there are submissions from people living in the state of "{STATE}" that happen minutes before a large number of comment submissions

When looking at the raw total number of comments, the majority fall into the anti-neutrality camp. However, after refining comments to include only those submitted organically via the FCC website (as opposed to those which were submitted via the FCC provided API for bulk submissions or by bots) the extreme opposite is true. People who submitted comments directly to the FCC website are overwhelmingly in support of net neutrality regulations. In fact, it was difficult to do any machine learning training or automated classification of anti-net neutrality comments, simply because they were that scarce. So, seeing a clear difference of opinion between bulk submitted comments vs those that came in via the FCC comment page we're forced to conclude that either the nature of submission method has some direct correlation with political opinion, or someone is telling lies on the internet.

Discovering truth through lies on the internet - FCC comments analyzed [Corey Thuen/Gravwell]

(via /.)




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