Romance on Facebook: it’s not just about changing your relationship status anymore. As our social lives increasingly go virtual, dating drama has become more complicated than ever! The newest phenomenon? Fake Facebook girlfriends: strangers paid to publicly praise your beau and raise his stud profile.
Oh No He Didn’t: Fake Girlfriends on Social Media
Ever visited your Significant Other’s Twitter or Facebook and seen an attractive avatar doing a whole lot of “like”-ing? Not a good feeling. “Who is this person and how do they know my boo?” you might angrily mumble to yourself. Maybe you get in a passive-aggressive tiff with the stranger publicly on your SO’s profile.
Turns out that that mysterious online hottie could be a paid commenter, whose social media activity is meant to spark jealousy or maybe just make your boyfriend/girlfriend seem more popular.
According to Stuart Heritage, who investigated the trend for The Guardian, it’s pretty easy to order your own simulated Pretty Woman.
Creating False Admirers is Easier Than You Think
Here’s the way it works, according to Guardian writer Stuart Heritage. Heritage recounts his experience using the website Fiverr, which offers a variety of goods and services for five bucks, to “buy” a social media girlfriend:
For a modest amount of money – certainly far less than it costs to start and maintain a human relationship – a growing number of websites now offer the services of pretend social media paramours. Maybe they’ll flirt with you on Twitter. Maybe they’ll change their relationship status on Facebook. Some fake girlfriends will even phone you at work…
It’s a weird setup. Many of the services claim that they exist to make other women jealous – your crush will see that you’re in a new relationship, realise that she’s wanted you for herself all along and pursue you relentlessly until you’re hers. It sounds unlikely, but apparently it works.
Heritage decided to hire two fake Facebook girlfriends through Fiverr: “Martha” and “Veronica”. Martha, a quiet and selective Facebook presence, was less threatening to Heritage’s real relationships. But Veronica went all out:
Veronica immediately leapt into the fray with gusto. She found the post announcing my relationship with Martha and wrote “DISLIKE” underneath it. She saw the picture of my injured leg and offered to kiss it better…
The main thing is that it worked. Veronica’s involvement spurred Martha back into action. “Hey… you left your bracelet the other night at my place… Wanted to come back for more?”
Still, Heritage found that none of his friends, or even his eye-rolling girlfriend, cared much about the female affection being poured onto his Facebook timeline. But perhaps teens and younger adults would be easier to fool.
Spotting Fake/Spam Profiles and Avoiding Online Dating Pitfalls
So if your boyfriend or girlfriend suddenly has a flurry of flirtatious activity on their Facebook or Twitter, it might just be a misguided bid for your attention. But it raises other concerns about online identities. Many of us post private information on social media without considering the potential consequences — what if your web 2.0 beau makes an inappropriate comment seen by your boss or coworker?
The world of online romance is so murky, it’s important to keep your guard up whenever you’re dealing with strangers on the Internet. For any devout fan of MTV’s hit show Catfish or the overzealous OKCupid user, it’s a commonly recognized fact that you never know just who is behind the profile photo.
Scambook has done a lot of research into the strange, diverse, and sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Scammers often create fake profiles, seduce victims over time, then exploit their e-dates in wire transfer schemes. For more information about online dating fraud, watch our Scambook TV video about fake profiles.
We “Like” Honesty on Social Media
So whether “It’s Complicated” or you’re “Single” and ready to mingle, make sure your radar is always up when you’re meeting people online. Always protect yourself and your information.
Have you ever seen fake girlfriends or boyfriends in action on social media? Have an online dating horror story to share? Tell us in the comments!
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