Don’t Trust FCC Comments or Corruption Statistics

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It’s been three years since the last revival season of The X-Files, but two major developments Thursday showed why the creed of Fox Mulder still holds true. “Trust no one.”

Millions of FCC Comments Fabricated by U.S. Broadband Companies

Yesterday the New York Attorney General’s office revealed that three of America’s largest broadband providers conducted a massive and fraudulent campaign aimed at blocking net neutrality regulation (a regulation that hurts providers).

A staggering 80% of 22 million public comments made in the FCC hearing were fabricated in what’s known as “Astroturf lobbying,” or fake campaigns meant to appear like they have real grass-roots support.

According to AG Letitia James, there were neither grass nor roots, and the real results were “drowned out by masses of fake comments and messages being submitted to the government to sway decision-making.”

  • More than 8.5 million of the messages were faked by a secret, $4.2 million campaign financed by three of America’s largest broadband providers.
  • The broadband providers — who weren’t named but were said to have a combined market value of $500 billion — hired outside firms who then went out and marketed online sweepstakes and product giveaways to consumers in exchange for their personal information.
  • The broadband companies also forged over half a million letters to Congress using the personal information.

The Most Common Financial Corruption Stats Are Wrong

Ever hear how corruption costs the global economy U.S. $2.6 trillion, or 5% of global GDP, each year? Or how there are U.S. $1 trillion in annual bribe payments every year globally?

These and other stats — often cited by the UN, OECD, the EU, and mainstream media — are completely unreliable. Norway’s U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center conducted a forensic examination of 10 of the world’s most cited corruption statistics and, it turns out, six of them are “problematic” while four were completely baseless.

For example, the idea that $2.6 trillion in public funds are embezzled each year, which UN Secretary General António Guterres has cited, is completely false and has never been reported by any researcher. Read the breakdown of each stat, who has cited it and what’s wrong with it here.