This Japanese Company Lets You Hire 'Friends' For Your Facebook Pictures

Who needs friends when you can trick people into thinking you have a thriving social life with a Facebook profile full of well-paid strangers?

This seems to be the idea behind a new service out of Japan (obviously) called Real Appeal, which lets you “rent” friends for your social media pictures.

We wish we were making this up.

Real Appeal allows clients to choose “friends” from a catalog to be featured in their Facebook or Instagram pics. Users can sort “friends” by gender or other aesthetic preferences at a cost of about 8,000 yen per person (or roughly $71 for two hours.)

The catch (other than the fact that you’re hiring fake friends) is that you also have to pay for each person’s travel costs, so the price could end up being a lot higher.

A translated testimonial on the website seems to boast about employing 10 fake friends for a birthday party in a Tokyo hotel.

“After lightly drinking with a beautiful bar in the night view, I got a lot of boasted photographs,” wrote the anonymous user.

While Real Appeal seems to encourage users to buy into the idea that they can improve their social rankings with pretty pictures on Facebook, numerous studies have drawn the link between heavy social media use and mental health problems.   

One study in particular, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, found that active social media users were three times as likely as less active users to feel depressed.  

“It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void,” said lead author Lui yi Lin of the findings.

What better way to address that depression than to pay a bunch of people a whole lot of money to pretend to like you?

h/t Travel and Leisure




I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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