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The data disclosures in 2015 revealed that this "permanent deletion" feature did not permanently delete anything, and all data was recoverable.
Trish Mc Dermott, a consultant who helped found Match.com, accused Ashley Madison of being a "business built on the back of broken hearts, ruined marriages, and damaged families".
The site allows users to hide their account profiles for free.
It was founded in 2002 by Darren Morgenstern, with the slogan: "Life is short.
Have an affair." The company received attention on July 15, 2015, after hackers stole all of its customer data—including emails, names, home addresses, sexual fantasies and credit card information—and threatened to post the data online if Ashley Madison and fellow Avid Life Media site Established were not permanently closed.
By July 22, the first set of customer names were released by hackers, with all of the user data released on August 18, 2015.
Compounding the problem is that "more men than women use the service, with the disparity increasing as they advance in age", and "Men seek sex, while women seek passion." A page on Ashley Madison, entitled "Is Ashley Madison a scam? " addressed some of these issues in an attempt to win over prospective customers and teach them best practices for using the site.
Ashley Madison had over 70,000 bots sending fake female messages to male users.
She had previously released an analysis purporting to show that only a minuscule proportion (12,000 out of 5.5 million) registered female accounts were used on a regular basis, Newitz noted a clause in the terms of service which states that some accounts are for amusement purposes only.