A man has told how he spends up to £1,000 a year on mundane ‘fake girlfriend’ texts – and insists he feels a connection with the woman he’s never spoken to. Ben, a 28-year-old software worker, pays $100 (£81) each month for his favourite Snapchatter to send him photos, messages and emails. He’s one of growing number of people paying for the attention – and nothing more – of minor Snapchat glamour stars.

And while cam sites and raunchy picture exchanges are nothing new, the apparent rise in people paying for basic human attention is rather more unsettling. Because rather than demanding nude pictures or racy messages, the deal is for Ben’s virtual girlfriend to send him the more vanilla and mundane communications – the type that you settle into in a longer term relationship. READ MORE