The Justice Department is now investigating a fraud case involving millions of comments posted during the contentious fight over net neutrality, reports BuzzFeed News.
The situation involves the Trump administration’s repeal of net neutrality, which prevented internet providers from choosing to serve certain content faster than other content.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai rolled out his plans to spike the popular Obama-era rules in April 2017. That meant opening a public commenting period, where the FCC received about 20 million comments.
But many of those comments were fake, says the New York Attorney General’s office. The organization now estimates that up to 9.5 million of them were filed in people’s names without their consent, most supporting the Trump administration’s policy change. There were also some fake comments supporting net neutrality.
Federal investigators have now issued subpoenas to the groups involved in advocating, most of which were conservative.
Pai cited the fake comments as proof that his decision to end net neutrality was “actually a popular decision,” Buzzfeed reports, even though a Stanford study found that “with all automated, bot-aided, and fake comments removed, 99.7% of commenters preferred keeping net neutrality.”
The FCC did not respond to Buzzfeed’s request for comment.