Screenshot of Fakebook's page

Cape Town - Social media is filled with pranksters who have created profiles to ridicule people in the limelight.

President Jacob Zuma, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille and convicted criminals Najwa Petersen and Dina Rodriguez all have fake accounts.

On Facebook the fake Najwa updates her status regularly to keep people informed of prison life.

She even gave murder accused Oscar Pistorius some advice shortly after his girlfriend was shot.

Updating her status Najwa says: “I just heard Oscar will be spending his 1st weekend in prison, brings back chilling memories. The State prosecutor is arguing premeditated murder! If his guilty, its a 25 year minimum sentence, and ask me, 25 years is a very long time away from everyone you miss and love. Every day in here is like a lifetime.”

On Twitter Zuma and Zille’s fake accounts are very popular.

The profile called @notHelenZille tweets jokes and statements poking fun at the Western Cape Premier.

“Woke up this morning thinking the Comrades Marathon was another ANC March,” @notHelenZille tweeted.

The fake Zuma account @Plaid_Zuma also tweets: “Well, I wont say sue me. Some people clearly take that as a personal challenge.”

Ramon Thomas, author of Psychology of Technology, says there’s more to these fake social media accounts than fun and games.

It is often a chance for South Africans to express their true feelings about a famous person.

“The key to remember is that it satisfies many different human emotions from anger, frustration, venting, to love, adoration, voyeurism and projection,” he says.

“Projection may be the key because this is how people live their own lives vicariously through the lives of celebrities.”

Thomas says this is an effective way for people to also confront public personalities like Najwa and Dina, whom they have become emotionally invested in because of their crimes.

“Often with legal cases the public doesn’t always agree on the sentencing by the judges,” Thomas says.

“So the social media becomes an alternative to call-in talk shows.

“People can express their emotions for or against and get immediate feedback from other people.

“When you call into a talk show like 3 Talk, there’s no guarantee you will be put on air.”

Ramon says the popularity of the spoof accounts fluctuates depending on how often the person managing the accounts updates, tweets and posts funny comments. - Daily Voice