What does IBFS mean? Here’s what the popular acronym stands for

If you’ve seen IBFS on social media, you might be wondering what it means. 

It looks like the acronym for an organization or medical condition, but it’s actually not anything quite so serious. The term has become popular on TikTok — and once you find out what it stands for, it’ll be no surprise why. After all, TikTok is where Gen Z hangs out.

What does IBFS stand for? 

IBFS means two things: either “internet boyfriends” or “internet best friends.”

Young people have to keep their social groups in order, and it isn’t uncommon to have two separate circles of friends: an online group and one IRL (as in, in real life).

When did the term IBFS first appear?

IBFS has been around since 2017, but in 2020 — the year when everything went virtual — it surged in popularity. 

How do people use IBFS? 


y’all wanted an update on me & my ibf of four years @izistyping meeting up. here is the video 🥺❤️ #ibf #foryoupage #fyp #foryou #ibfsmeeting #ibfs

♬ original sound – mariana boynton

The term is used almost as a superlative for a close online friend you may never actually meet IRL. Dubbing someone your internet best friend or boyfriend is giving them elevated status in the online social hierarchy. 

Others may use IBFS as the most accurate term to describe their relationship. For example, people in long-distance relationships may use it, as well as people who form genuine friendships through online chatting who eventually plan (or hope) to meet offline.

TikTokers will usually describe another user as their “IBF” and use the tag #IBFS accordingly.

What is the IBFS trend? 

The #IBFS hashtag currently has 161.7 million video views on TikTok. While IBFS is a general descriptor, there’s also a video trend where users post TikToks of the moments they meet their IBFS offline for the first time.


meet my ibf for first time {10/8/19}❤️@jasminecherice #foryoupage #fyp #ibf

♬ It’s You – Ali Gatie

Frankie Toms recorded the moment he met his IBF in person last year.


After 2 years & 9 months of texting & FaceTiming each other 24/7, got to surprise my besties @nicolasandemiliano at #playlist2020 2/28/20 🥺💜 #ibfs

♬ original sound – Carolyn ❤️🌙

Meanwhile, another user named Carolyn got to meet her three-year IBF in person last February, just before the pandemic ramped up.

If you enjoyed this story, find out what the acronym “DC” stands for on TikTok.

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