(ANTIMEDIA) Japan — In a testament to how strange life has truly become in the digital age, the media is now reporting that a company in Japan is offering a new, highly specialized service — renting people out as fake friends for photos to be uploaded on social media with the advertised purpose of making customers look better online.
“Social media can be a lonely and bitter place if you don’t have any friends,” wrote the International Business Times on Tuesday. “Enter Family Romance, a Japan-based company that will send a fake friend to pose with you in your Facebook photos to make your life look more fulfilling than it really is.”
The “Real Appeal” service is priced at $70 a pop, and for that, you get a warm body for your selfies for a whole two hours. Customers are liable for all travel expenses, however, so overseas subscribers will have to cough up the dough for plane tickets.
Customers choosing the Real Appeal service are supplied with a catalog of fake friends to select from and are free to pick based on sex, gender, or, presumably, any other criteria.
International Business Times explains how Family Romance is advertising this particular service:
“Family Romance offers two reasons: social image and vengeance. You may want to be perceived as a social butterfly capable of making friends everywhere you go, when in fact you’d rather sit at home, presumably obsessing over other people’s social media posts.”
Regarding the second reason, IBT writes:
“Alternatively, Real Appeal staff members can be hired to act as your new love interests if you fancy sticking it to an ex-lover and pretending you’ve moved on, when you very clearly haven’t.”
This is the note on which Zoey Chong, writing for CNET, opened her coverage of the story:
“Broke up with an ex and want to show them your life is still great? Japan’s Real Appeal service has got you.”
As social commentary, the news was perhaps best encapsulated in the closing of an article by Cosmopolitan’s Tess Koman, who wrote —quite succinctly — “2017 is grand.”