If you’ve ever felt misled by a potential date on social media, the chances are you’ve unknowingly been Fyre’d.
The bizarre new trend, inspired by the ill-fated Bahamian festival of the same name, involves being deliberately misled or lied to on social media – a growing epidemic in the age of Tinder, according to dating expert Mairead Molloy.
This is particularly prevalent in the age of dating apps and swiping right, the co-founder of Berkeley International explains.
The elite dating service has seen an increase in the past year of daters quitting apps after feeling cheated or misled by their dates – echoing the fate of festival-goers who were lured in by the promise of luxury villas and gourmet cuisine, only to find themselves chewing on stale cheese sandwiches in rain-soaked storm tents.
Here, Mairead explains how to avoid falling into a Fyre festival-style trap in dating and relationships.
Expectation: Advertised with supermodels frolicking on idyllic beaches (pictured) the doomed Fyre Festival is now widely known as ‘the greatest festival that never happened’
Social media hiding
‘There is always an amazing feeling when starting to date someone new. You have been on loads of amazing dates with them and spent quality time together.
‘You think you know everything about them as they are incredibly open with you. But are they as open on their social media? Like the ill-fated Fyre Festival, it’s important to question what’s being shared – or held back – from social media.
‘Some people are private and choose not to put much online, but alarm bells should be ringing if a partner tries to stop you from sharing updates on your social media pages. If you’re proud to upload a date night snap but your partner bans you from it, you could already be getting ‘fyred.’
‘Your partner could be telling you all the right things in person but be strict in never putting pictures of the actual relationship on their social media accounts. This can be a warning sign your partner is trying to covey two lives, one with you as their number one and another trying to show they are not in a relationship.
‘If this is the case, you should be upfront with your partner and ask them why they don’t want to post photos of the relationship online and who they are trying to hide it from.’
First date fraudsters
‘With recent news that romance fraud costs those who get scammed on average £11,145 (Action Fraud) the risk you might be the next person to be scammed is incredibly high.
‘Much like Fyre festival, in which people spent thousands of pounds on tickets to a festival that did not exist, fraudsters on dating apps are after one thing, and that is not your heart.
‘The worst case is losing money to a new partner, but there are other ways people use online dating apps to tell lies. If someone seems too good to be true, then they probably are.
Reality: Festival-goers who had paid thousands on tickets to the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ festival arrived instead to find storm tents and mattresses soaked in rainwater (pictured)
‘Always see if you can find them on their social pages and try to meet their friends if it is getting more serious. At Berkeley International, we have a strong vetting service which means we never have anyone who is trying to make a quick buck from someone who is looking for love.’
‘Meeting with a stranger for a date can always be a daunting experience. You have spoken to them online, but don’t know how the date will go. Forty per cent of our clients from the last year have come to us after saying they are fed up with dating apps.
Mairead Molloy is the co-founder of elite dating service Berkeley International
‘We’ve had clients come in after saying they had had first dates where parents or friends have been bought along too – and some cases have even brought their pets.
‘Thinking you were going to get to know the person you are speaking to only to be met by more than one person on your date is an absolute nightmare and something you should not put up with.
‘Don’t be afraid to speak up or leave if you feel uncomfortable on your date. You don’t owe your date anything, so don’t feel obliged to stay out of politeness if it wasn’t what you expected.
‘Through your partner hiding your relationship on their social media channels, to fraudsters lying to you from the moment you swipe right and finally to dates not living up to your expectations- these are all issues we have and will continue to have when navigating through dating minefields.
‘Much like the calamity of Fyre Festival, someone you date can try to show themselves as something they are not, but through being aware and looking out for the signs, you can stop yourself from being “fyred” on the dating and relationship scene.’
For more information, visit: berkeley-international.com
What was Fyre Festival?
The planned festival backed by a host of A-list models and with packages costing up to $13,000 (£10,000) dramatically fell apart in April 2017.
The homepage for the festival, co-organised by rapper Ja Rule, featured a host of top models including Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid, Alessandra Ambrosio, Hailey Baldwin and Joan Smalls relaxing on the beach and swimming through crystal clear waters.
A-list guests: The festival backed by a host of A-list models including Bella Hadid (third left) and with packages costing up to $13,000 (£10,000) fell apart in April 2017
Oh no! In reality guests arrived on the island to find the site half-finished, their luggage missing. The promised ‘villas’ turned out to be storm tents soaked from the rain
The promised gourmet cuisine replaced by cheese sandwiches and soggy lettuce. This picture sparked the social media storm that resulted in the festival’s downfall
Organisers enlisted a host of celebrity influencers from around the world to push the luxury getaway in the Bahamas to wealthy millennials as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In reality, guests arrived on the island to find the site half-finished, their luggage missing, and the promised gourmet cuisine replaced by cheese sandwiches and soggy lettuce.
Organiser Billy McFarland had no experience of organizing such an event and vastly underestimated the cost and the logistics involved.
McFarland was jailed for six years for fraud in 2018 and ordered to pay back $28 million (£21.5 million) to more than a hundred investors.