Ashley Madison faked female profiles to lure men in, hacked data suggest

Ashley Madison has long claimed, in triumphant news releases and slick, Web-ready graphics, that it is one of the few dating sites that really clicks with women. According to statistics CEO Noah Biderman has trumpeted in the media, Ashley Madison enjoys an overall 70/30 gender split — with a 1:1 male/female ratio among the under-30 set.

But the user records laid bare by hackers last week tell a very different story: Of the more than 35 million records released, only 5 million — a mere 15 percent — actually belonged to women.

This discrepancy may be the smoking gun that proves something angry users, industry insiders and government watchdogs have alleged for some time: that when it comes to reporting their own user numbers, paid-dating sites distort, manipulate … and sometimes straight-up lie.