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KABUL, Afghanistan — A Facebook page modeled on the wildly popular #BeLikeBill meme targeting social media misconduct and encouraging good behavior is going viral in Afghanistan.
Be Like Bill's Afghan equivalent Be Like Qodos has attracted more 50,000 likes in about a week — big numbers in a country where a small minority has access to the Internet. In Dari and Pashto, the country's main languages, it advises users to act considerately and not be showoffs — but in culturally specific ways.
"Qodos sees a woman driving. Qodos does his own things and does not stare at the woman. Qodos is a nice person. #BeLikeQodos," says one post.
The messages are simple and target daily behavior, from littering to harassing women on the street. They have also inspired prominent activists and even politicians to take on issues and post messages.
The former head of Afghanistan's intelligence service Amrullah Saleh took aim at official corruption in one post: "The Attorney General asks Qodos for bribe. Qodos does not want to pay bribe. What should Qodos do?"
The question is sadly appropriate in Afghanistan, which ranks 172 out of 175 on Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Understandably for a country that has lived through decades of war and suffers desperately high rates of domestic violence, Be Like Qodos can get pretty dark.
For example: "Qodos does not beat his wife. Qodos respects his wife. Qodos is a good person. Be like Qodos."
Be Like Qodos isn't reaching the masses, directly at least. Around 12 percent of the population has access to Internet and only half of its online community uses Facebook, according to Internet World Stats, a website that monitors the usage.
But Afghanistan netizens often have an outsize impact, according to democracy activist Omaid Sharifi.
"The majority of those on Facebook are the educated and most influential segment of the society,” he told NBC News. "The message spreads much quicker, especially if it becomes viral ... it becomes talk of the town and households."
Social media has already become an important tool not only for activists and politicians, but also for religious leaders.
After a woman was lynched by an angry mob in Kabul on accusations of disrespecting the Quran, videos and photos posted on Facebook provoked nationwide shock and widespread protests to bring those responsible for the murder to justice.
"Afghan social media users are different from their peers elsewhere," said a founding member of Impassion Afghanistan, the country's first digital media company. "In a largely illiterate country, the Afghan social media community is largely educated, upwardly mobile young people — that's the meme-maker demographic, the group that defines popular and acts as influencers of social behavior."
The member of Impassion spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was afraid of reprisals for his online statements.
NBC News contacted Be Like Qodos' Facebook administrator for a comment but did not hear back.