Indonesian twins separated at birth find each other on Twitter after 16 years

Nabila Az-Zahra (left) and her long-lost twin Nadya (right) found each other on Twitter 16 years after they were separated.

It was another laid-back evening of social media browsing on Jan 6 for 16-year-old Nabila Az-Zahra, a high school student in Gowa regency, South Sulawesi - at least until she started receiving a slew of strange comments and direct messages (DMs) from fellow Twitter users.

They were all pointing her to a thread of tweets written by another user whose profile picture appeared to have Nabila's likeness.

Impostor accounts - called catfish in internet parlance - have been around since the dawn of social media. Nabila initially dismissed the profile as a troll trying to ride on the coattails of her Twitter persona.

Little did she know her life was about to be flipped upside down.

"On Jan 7, I checked my DMs on Instagram and found a message from an account belonging to someone named Nadya," Nabila wrote about her discovery.

"She asked me, 'Don't you think we look alike?' At which point I suggested to her that it would be best for us to have a video call so as to not waste time."

On a platform replete with fabricated identities and curated appearances, Nabila's first instinct was to be apprehensive about an encounter with a stranger.

However, the person she saw on the video call caught her off-guard; Nadya looked just like her.

"We asked each other personal questions during the video call such as our weight, height, favourite colour and favourite drink. Our answers were 90 per cent similar!" Nabila wrote.

And then, the million-dollar question.

"Nadya asked me, "What if we're actually twins?" I told her I'd be really happy; it would be like a dream come true. I considered the possibility and decided to ask my mom about it," she said.

Nabila's parents, Ramli and Johra, explained that she was adopted and that she was born alongside two twin siblings, one of whom was Nadya.

Her birth parents were in difficult financial circumstances when the triplets were born, and they thought it would be better to put Nabila and her two siblings up for adoption, according to her mother.

"[My mom] told me that I only weighed 1.4 kilograms as a newborn. I was dying," Nabila wrote, adding that she and Nadya were now looking for their other sibling.

"I was both sad and happy at the same time upon learning about the truth. Happy because I got to meet my twin, sad because I didn't expect such a story. I'm grateful that I still have my family who have sincerely raised me to this day."

Nabila's serendipitous reunion with her twin has become a viral sensation, garnering over 10,000 retweets at the time of writing. Netizens have responded enthusiastically to her story, with some saying it was worthy of a sinetron (Indonesian soap opera).

"It's very much like sinetron. I hope you'll find your third sibling. Don't be sad for everything that happened, I'm sure it's all for the best," Twitter user @safiraafik wrote in a tweet.

Another user @Piramaryan tweeted. "It's like a sinetron or a Wattpad [online story platform] story, only it's real. So sad, I hope you'll manage to do more bonding [with your twin]."