Digital Romance: The Sources of Online Love in the Muslim World

This article was published in Media, Culture & Society, 2017, Vol. 39(3) 429 – 439, April 2017, co-authored with Ramina Sotoudeh, Roger Friedland.


Social media creates new virtual public spaces where young women and men living in socially conservative non-Western societies can communicate in order to meet and engage in forbidden intimacies. In this essay, using survey data on thousands of Facebook users from Muslim-majority countries, we look at the relationship between romance in public physical spaces and cyberspaces. To what extent do Facebook users make use of the Internet to pursue romance? And what are the attributes of individuals who use it in this way?

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