Instagram Ends Three-Decade Search For Father


A woman’s 27-year-hunt for her missing father has ended happily thanks to a combination of Instagram and Facebook.

The remarkable story was revealed by the BBC World Service this week. It involves a woman named Farhiya who was born in St Petersburg (then Leningrad) to a local woman and a visiting army officer named Siid from Somalia. A year later Siid was expelled from the Soviet Union when it sided with Ethiopia in a war with Somalia.

Aged 12, Farhiya began hunting for her father, armed only with the address of his parents. She reached numerous dead ends, made worse by first Somalia’s declining relations with the Soviet Union and then a lengthy Soviet civil war. What she didn’t know was that Siid was also looking for her, with a similar lack of success.

She eventually struck gold by searching Instagram pictures of Somalia and examining the people who posted them to find users with a lot of well-connected followers. One agreed to post a request for information on his Facebook wall, which prompted a response from a woman in Norway who turned out to be Farhiya’s half-sister. She was still in close contact with their father and the family has now been reunited.

“He was exactly like I expected him to be,” she says. “We walked exactly in the same manner. We talked exactly in the same voice. It was unbelievable – the two of us were together after all this time!”

“It will probably still take me a long time to believe that in my phone, I now have the most important contact in my life – Dad.”