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CEO Of Cheating Website Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman, Has Stepped Down

The website of the "married dating" service Ashley Madison was the target of hackers, who released customer data.
The website of the "married dating" service Ashley Madison was the target of hackers, who released customer data.

In the wake of a massive hacking, the founder and CEO of the cheating website Ashley Madison has stepped down.

Noel Biderman had been at the center of controversy after hackers released information on 33 million people who had used to the site to try to cheat on their spouses.

In a statement, Ashley Madison's parent company, Avid Life Media, said the company would be led by its existing senior management team until a new CEO was appointed.

"This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees," the company said.

Aside from putting its members in aprecarious situation with their spouses, the hack also revealed that the company was engaging in questionable behavior.

For example, it charged customers to remove all their data from its servers, but the hack revealed the information was still on company servers.

Yesterday, Gizmodo reported that for all intents and purposes the men on the site were never likely to interact with the women they were looking to have affairs with.

Gizmodo found that 20.2 million men checked messages on the site but only 1,492 women did. What's more, many of the 5.5 million female profiles on the site were fake and about 10,000 of them were likely created by someone using email addresses. The implication? That the company's own employees were creating fake profiles that identified as female.

When they released the data, the hackers had taken issue with what they alleged was a company ripping off its customers.

In its statement today, Avid Life media said a criminal investigation into the hacking was ongoing.

"We are actively cooperating with international law enforcement in an effort to bring those responsible for the theft of proprietary member and business information to justice," the company said.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.