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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.

Any follow-up messages between the two members are free after the communication has been initiated.

Ashley Madison also has a real-time chat feature where credits buy a certain time allotment.

In 2015, the Ontario Superior Court dismissed the case without costs, a result with which Avi Weisman, vice-president and general counsel for Avid Life Media, said the company was "very pleased".

the site was hacked by a group known as "The Impact Team".

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.

In 2012, the company was sued by former employee Doriana Silva, who stated that in preparation for the launch of the company's Portuguese-language website, she was assigned to create over a thousand bogus member profiles within a three-week period in order to attract paying customers, and that this caused her to develop repetitive stress injury.A statement denouncing proposed ads was made in 2009 when Ashley Madison attempted to purchase C0,000 worth of advertising from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on the Toronto streetcar system.Biderman offered to subsidize the TTC fare rate to .50 from .75 but the offer was declined.The lawsuit claimed that as a result Silva "developed severe pain in her wrists and forearms", and has been unable to work since 2011. The company claimed that Silva had been photographed jet-skiing, an activity that was unlikely for someone who had suffered serious injury to the hands and forearms.Ashley Madison later alleged further that Silva had kept confidential documents and sought to retrieve them.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".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.She says Ashley Madison does not go so far as to say they are fake, but "does admit that many profiles are for 'amusement only' ".Unlike or e Harmony, Ashley Madison's business model is based on credits rather than monthly subscriptions.For a conversation between two members, one of the members—almost always the man—must pay five credits to initiate the conversation.

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