A contestant on Channel 4 reality show The Circle has told BBC Radio 5 Live he felt “absolutely furious” and “humiliated” after being deceived by a fellow participant.
Dan Mosaku formed a friendship with ‘Kate’, the eventual winner, who was actually a man called Alex.
The show, which ended on Monday, was billed as Big Brother meets Catfish.
Alex Hobern said he created a character because he “wanted to raise awareness that a lot of social media is fake”.
Marketed as a social experiment about trust, The Circle only allowed contestants to communicate through their online profiles, with each player choosing whether to present a true or fictional version of themselves.
Alex used his girlfriend Millie’s image as his profile picture throughout the three-week series – successfully fooling the others and walking away with the £75,000 prize.
His win was based on popularity – with contestants ranking each other throughout the process.
Dan said he may well have played a “large part” in Alex’s win because he gave the fictional Kate five stars each time.
He told 5 Live: “I thought my friendship with Kate was as close as it could possibly have been without having physically met.
“Because of her personality, Kate became more attractive to me. I would definitely have explored something romantic with her.”
At the end of the series, the four finalists came face-to-face and their true identities were revealed.
Dan said: “I was absolutely furious. In my entire life I have never felt so many emotions at the same time. I felt angry, but I was also very upset and extremely embarrassed.
“One of the things that hurt me so badly was that I genuinely wanted Kate to be Kate, and [coming face-to-face with Alex] was kind of like a mirror shattering for me.
“All of my dreams of who this person was, and potentially could be to me, completely shattered in that one moment, and I’d been living a lie.”
The show faced criticism from some people for the role that catfishing – pretending to be someone else online – played.
The show’s creator said the programme reflected “the good and the bad of social media”.
Dan called his time in The Circle a “strange” but “amazing” experience and said it taught him that “you have to be careful and vigilant online”.
But the former estate agent admitted he had to take responsibility for believing in ‘Kate’.
“If you’re going to be naive enough to be fooled, then you’ve got to take it on the chin,” he said.
“I have to take a bit of responsibility for being so trusting, and maybe I shouldn’t be so trusting next time, and then I wouldn’t find myself in this situation.”