Senators demand FTC crack down on illegal bots following Taylor Swift ticketing fiasco

More senators are seeking answers in the Taylor Swift ticketing fiasco. Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn called upon the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Variety reports the two senators serve on the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security. Both raised concern over Ticketmaster’s claim that a “staggering number of bot attacks” was partially to blame for the disastrous Eras Tour presale. 

Blackburn and Blumenthal co-sponsored the 2016 Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act, which was designed to combat illegal bots that snatch up swaths of concert tickets before fans can get their hands on them. It also granted the FTC authority to investigate violations.

Both Blackburn and Blumenthal asked the FTC what it is doing to enforce the law and cited other tours where bots snatched up tickets and caused ultra-inflated prices. The letter cited incidents with Adele and Bruce Springsteen‘s shows, where secondary ticket sales went as high as $40,000.

The letter also showed concern that the BOTS Act has only been enforced once — in January 2021. The letter asks if there are any “obstacles preventing the FTC from exercising its authority under the BOTS Act” and if Congress should take additional measures to give the law more teeth.

This is the latest development stemming from the disastrous rollout of Taylor’s ticket presale. Last week, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee announced a hearing to look into the alleged monopoly critics say Ticketmaster has on the ticketing industry. A date for the hearing and potential witnesses have not yet been announced.

In addition, it was previously reported the Justice Department’s antitrust division is investigating Live Nation — the parent company of Ticketmaster — for potential abuse of power.

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