Ashley Madison parent company Ruby pays $1.6M to settle FTC probe

The Toronto-based parent company of the infidelity dating site Ashley Madison says it has paid more than $1.6 million US in settlements as part of an investigation led by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Online dating leader Ashley Madison will pay $1.6 million to settle an FTC probe into its past business dealings. (ruby)

The Toronto-based parent company of the infidelity dating site Ashley Madison says it has paid more than $1.6 million US in settlements as part of an investigation led by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Ruby Corp., which was previously known as Avid Life Media, says half the money went to the FTC and half to the states participating in the probe.

The company says that as part of the agreement, it will also maintain a comprehensive information security program and "refrain from past business practices that may have allegedly been misleading to consumers."

But it stresses it neither admits nor denies the allegations made by the FTC and the various state attorneys general.

The investigation was launched last year after a massive security breach that exposed the personal dealings and financial information of millions of purported clients.

"The global settlement requires AshleyMadison.com to implement a range of more robust data security practices that will better-protect its users' personal information from criminal hackers going forward," FTC chair Edith Ramirez said.

Ashley Madison was also plagued by allegations that it resorted to fake profiles of women — commonly known as bots — to lure unsuspecting male customers.

The company had consistently denied the accusations but said earlier this year that a report found the bots were still active in some parts of the world until late 2015.

In a statement, the company said the agreement "closes an important chapter on the company's past and reinforces our commitment to operating with integrity and to building a new future for our members, our team and our company," CEO Rob Segal said.

Ashley Madison underwent a major rebranding earlier this year in an effort to bounce back from the breach, and even dropped its signature tagline "Life is short. Have an affair."

With files from CBC News