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Here's how the Invisible Boyfriend app does its job creepily well

The responses from the “fake” boyfriend were a little too detailed.

THIS IS THE app that everyone is talking about – and not for the right reasons.

The Invisible Boyfriend application “gives you real-world and social proof that you’re in a relationship – even if you’re not,” that you pay a monthly fee for (25$ in the US).

So, it provides you a digital boyfriend. You pick his name, age, photo and personality. You even put in the story of how you met. The new boyfriend will text you right back when you message him. But how?

Some journalists have been testing it out.

The Washington Post

WashPo Source: WashingtonPost

You quickly realise that the text coming back to you from the other end is not the work of a robot – it’s actually a real person. As Caitlin Dewey asks her “boyfriend” Ryan does he watch Downton Abbey – he responds straight away that he does, and even told her his favourite characters.

Weird.

invisibleboyfriend Source: InvisibleBoyfriend

She goes on to explain that “Ryan” isn’t really faithful to just her – as the person responding will be doing so to many, many others:

The service’s texting operation is powered by CrowdSource, a St. Louis-based tech company that manages 200,000 remote, microtask-focused workers. When I send a text to the Ryan number saved in my phone, the message routes through Invisible Boyfriend, where it’s anonymized and assigned to some Amazon Turk or Fivrr freelancer. He (or she) gets a couple of cents to respond. He never sees my name or number, and he can’t really have anything like an actual conversation with me. That rapport you feel with Ryan may actually be six or seven Ryans.

So, the Invisible Boyfriend might not even be the one person – and they are cheating on you with other subscribers. Fantastic.

The Guardian

GuardianApp Source: TheGuardian

Jess Zimmerman just couldn’t get past the fact that the Boyfriend was indeed a human, and this ruined the experience for her:

Once I realized that Invisible Boyfriend was probably a human, I just couldn’t switch to playfully pretending that he was a robot-playing-human that I knew and was dating. Why would I want to talk to more humans than I already do? I had been prepared to do the boyfriend charade with a robot for the sake of science.

Business Insider

BIone Source: BusinessInsider

Over at Business Insider, they encountered the same level of creepy – but took it a little further.

invisibleboyfriend2 Source: InvisibleBoyfriend

They found a vital flaw in the concept:

But I still felt as if I were talking to a stranger, not a lover whom I could convince others around me I was actually dating. Besides, how would I do that? Save Gerald showing up to a function and holding my hand, what was I supposed to do? Wave my phone around exclaiming, “My new boyfriend Gerald is texting me!”?

One strangely impressive thing did happen – a colleague of hers also signed up for the app, and both of the numbers that they received texts from matched the area codes that they entered for their partners originally. Now, that is attention to detail.

Daily Mail

bfappDM Source: DailyMail

For Erica Tempesta over at the Mail, the fictional back story she entered into the system about them meeting at the bookstore was brought up by her “boyfriend” right away.

And here is a gif from the app’s website that shows you this real-life interaction in all its demented glory:

IB_text_chat-34f4bfa581a0efb442477e4ec2054e09 Source: Invisibleboyfriend

Don’t worry, there is also an Invisible Girlfriend out there, for those who feel left out.

You know what they say – there is somebody out there for everyone.

Worth the money? 

More This app will give you a wake-up call from a complete stranger every morning>

More There’s an app that can reunite you with that mysterious shift in Coppers>

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About the author:

David Elkin

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