Last July, he found out that he wasn't the only one getting the silent treatment.A hacker group called The Impact Team leaked internal memos from Ashley Madison's parent company, Avid Life, which revealed the widespread use of sexbots — artificially-intelligent programs, posing as real people, intended to seduce lonely hearts like Russell into paying for premium service. The strangers hitting you up for likes on Facebook? And, like many online trends, this one's rising up from the steamier corners of the web.Bloggers poured over the data, estimating that of the 5.5 million female profiles on the site, as few as 12,000 were real women — allegations that Ashley Madison denied. Bots are infiltrating just about every dating service.A whopping 59 percent of all online traffic — not just dating sites — is generated by bots, according to the tech analyst firm, Are You a Human. Spammers are using them to lure victims on Tinder, according to multiple studies by Symantec, the computer security firm.Our requests for comment were not returned by Tinder.On Twitter, it's not hard to find users complaining about the practice: Still, Narang says there's another problem.Whether you know it or not, odds are you've encountered one. "The majority of the matches are often bots," says Satnam Narang, Symantec’s senior response manager. Keeping the automated personalities at bay has become a central challenge for software developers."It's really difficult to find them," says Ben Trenda, Are You Human's CEO.
That name couldn't be more appropriate for a dating app with a problem that could leave users steaming.Tinder, the addictive online matchmaking tool, is plagued by fake accounts luring unsuspecting users into pricey phishing schemes.And they ruse is easy to fall for, because it plays into our desire for easy flirtation.Narang has practical advice: "Remain cautious and remain skeptical.If you look at some of the profiles and there's some sketchy aspects: they don't have any shared interests, the pictures are kind of risque, the tag lines are very strange, when you engage with a person and they ask you to click on links and go to a webcam, that's a scam." If you're having problems with the app, let us know in the comments.
This type of thing happens often in chat services like Twitter and AIM: The trend isn't a total disaster for Tinder, but it's been late in addressing the issue.