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Claiming that its security had always been weak, the hackers claimed to have stolen personal information about the site's user base, and threatened to release names, home addresses, search histories and credit card numbers if the site was not immediately shut down.
The demand was driven by the site's policy of not deleting users' personal information following their invoiced requests.
Unlike or e Harmony, Ashley Madison's business model is based on credits rather than monthly subscriptions.
Ashley Madison also has a real-time chat feature where credits buy a certain time allotment.In 2012, a former employee claimed in a lawsuit that she was requested to create thousands of fake female accounts attractive to male customers, resulting in repetitive stress injury. In July 2016, CEO Rob Segal and newly appointed President James Millership told Reuters that the company had phased out bots by late 2015.Segal shared an independent report by EY (Ernst & Young) which verified the phase-out.The site allows users to hide their account profiles for free.Users looking to delete their accounts, even those made without the individual's consent, are charged a fee.