How to find out if you are dating a robot: which dating sites can you trust? We reveal the dating sites that use chatbots to fool singles

Catfishing, phishing and sexy chat-botting: the online dating world can be a confusing place. Now Match and Tinder's parent company is gearing up to sell stocks and shares, so the spotlight is on shady practices hidden in some dating sites' code.

Free dating sites fast became an ecosystem for programmers to let loose their bot scripts - luring the sexually curious to malware or "extra" services. Meeting a robot is an inevitable part of online dating - or owning an email address. But what if the chatbot was created by the company itself?

Take Ashley Madison, which had its entire source code, internal company emails and 37 million customers' personal information dumped onto torrenting sites earlier this year. On analysis of the code, it became clear engineers had developed female chatbots, which had in turn engaged some of its male userbase.

It has been suggested by Gizmodo that Ashley Madison used these chatbots as bait to get users to pay for a premium subscription, although that allegation is unproven.

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