“While McDonald and Lewis initially only had friends who were distant relatives, their lists of connections swelled from just over 100 each to more than 1,000. They were featured in Mashable, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Yahoo! News and the UK’s Daily Mail.
Lewis and McDonald posted historically accurate status updates about their lives, photos of campus events such as “hop” dances and “Rugby Football matches” and listed musicians such as Scott Joplin and writers including Jane Austen among their favorites. Their profiles were hailed by many experts as a powerful example of social media’s power to bring history to life for a digitally absorbed generation.
But, as fake profiles, McDonald and Lewis clearly violated the first rule of Facebook registration: “You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.”