More and more young adults in Afghanistan are creating fake Facebook profiles to try and find love. Strict social rules prohibit many mixed-sex interactions and premarital relationships.
However, now that 90% of the population has access to a mobile phone, Facebook is being used as a means of online dating.
Men will often make fake female profiles and send a friend request to women that they like. They normally spend some time talking to them before revealing their real identity.
Women also make male profiles to try and encourage men that they like to contact them.
An 18-year-old student called Naweed told The Atlantic: “Boys usually use this technique to get closer to the girls they like. I was talking to girls for fun, and I enjoyed it a lot.”
However, not all of these advances are innocent. A number of women are reporting that they have been blackmailed by men that they have sent photos or private information to.
The problem has become so bad that women are making male profiles to avoid harassment. The Facebook scene in Afghanistan is therefore becoming so polluted with fake profiles that it is almost impossible to know for certain who someone is.
Facebook and Instagram have announced that there will be tighter restrictions put in place to limit underage signups. This comes as part of a strategy to eradicate fake profiles from the site, meaning that this form of dating in Afghanistan might not last.
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