You Could Just Buy a Fake Internet Girlfriend Instead

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 17 2013 12:11 PM

You Could Just Buy a Fake Internet Girlfriend

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Manti Te'o

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

From the Department of Odd Coincidences: Yesterday morning, just a few hours before Deadspin broke the incredible story that Notre Dame star and Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o’s late girlfriend Lennay Kekua did not exist, the AP published a story with this headline: “Brazilian Website Creates Fake Girlfriends.”

As the story, filed from São Paulo, explained, “NamoroFake.com.br says that for 40 reals ($20) it will create a fake girlfriend and post her profile on Facebook during seven days.” The site was created by Flavio Estevam, who says that now they are only offering fake girlfriend profiles, but “soon we will create fake boyfriends for women.” Apparently they plan to cater exclusively to those who want to pretend to be in heterosexual relationships—at least for the time being. You can also, it appears, rent a fake ex-girlfriend, if, for whatever reason, you so desire. NamoroFake provides a caveat that is not unlike the one in the credits of many Hollywood movies: “all profiles are fictitious and not based on real people.”

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The AP story is very brief, but a visit to the site suggests that while the profiles are fake, there are actual women who are willingly providing their images for these bogus Internet-only personae—in contrast to the case of Kekua, whose image was reportedly lifted from a Facebook profile unbeknownst to the woman who first uploaded it.

The imaginary Te’o-Kekua courtship took place mostly on Twitter, and NamoroFake does not appear to offer any services specific to that other social media outlet. I should note, though, that I am relying on Google Translate to understand the site: If you happen to read Portuguese, let me know in the comments about anything I missed.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.