Want to look more popular on social networking sites? Don’t worry, just buy some 1,000 ‘fake friends’ for only 125 pounds.

According to reports, many users of Facebook and other social networking sites who fear they do not have enough friends are “buying” them to look more popular.

They spend 125 pounds for blocks of 1,000 friends on Facebook and Twitter, and the service is being provided by a small Australian company called uSocial, The Daily Telegraph reported.

According to Leon Hill, the chief executive of uSocial, his company reported a surge of inquiries about this service over Christmas.

“Social networking sites can be cruel if you’re unloved — they show exactly how popular you are,” Hill was quoted as saying.

“People are buying pals so they have more mates to chat to, rather than sitting alone on their PCs.”

However, many claim that such service abuses the principles of social networking sites. One such complainant on his website leanbhill.com wrote: “uSocial utilises armies of dummy accounts on such websites to cheat and promote content on behalf of its clients.

“In other words, uSocial violates online communities for money. This is shameful and deplorable. It exploits the assumption of trust and goodwill that allows Internet communities to thrive.”

Lawyers for Facebook have also tried to get the service shut down, the report said.

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