Regulator Watch released a video announcing over 255,000 fake anti-vaping comments have flooded the Regulations.Gov website. The target is specifically directed at the Regulation of Flavors in Tobacco Products. The Canadian News source states the spammed comments nearly brought down federal servers and bogged down the internal network, making it nearly impossible to process any submissions.
The bot attack began on June 8th and ran until June 11th. During this time frame, 255,000 fake comments were made before staff could isolate the incident from offending IP addresses and cease the flow. The comments are under investigation by the FDA. A decision is pending on whether or not to accept or reject the comments.
Beginning the week ending June 30, 2018, the FDA hasn’t published any comments following the fake anti-vaping comment attacks, grinding the process to a halt. It could be weeks after the comment period ends to sort through the disruption campaign. The Division of Documents Management at the FDA, operating with Regulations.gov, advised Regular Watch that 60% of the comments received are spam submissions and anti-vaping messages. This is a massive assault on the credibility of the public consultation process.
With just days to go before the July 19, 2018 comment period ends, the FDA is required to review each and every submission before officially publishing comments. The concern for vapers, is that this attack could derail the entire flavor commenting process by the public, taking flavors and vaping down with it.
*curated vape news article