Someone is Lying to You on the Internet: Using Analytics to Find Bot Submissions in the FCC Net Neutrality Submissions

The FCC is trying to ram through anti-net neutrality legislation and are using the submissions from their call for comments. There were more than 22 million comments submitted in approximately three months dealing with net neutrality, many supporting an anti-net neutrality stance, but something is rotten in the state of the US. Other researchers have posited that there are bots and false submissions, but they used tools not commonly available to everyone.

In this case, using open source ingesters developed in house and freely available on GitHub, we pulled in all of the comments and used analytics to see if this were really the true story. 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 via the FCC website (as opposed to those which were submitted via the FCC provided API for bulk submissions) the extreme opposite is true. People who submitted comments directly to the FCC website are overwhelmingly in support of net neutrality regulations. This talk reviews the journey to this conclusion.

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