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Facebook kills off historical accounts

Librarian Donnelyn Curtis just got schooled on Facebook's terms of service. 


Lauren Rae Orsini


Posted on Jan 11, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 10:48 pm CDT

Facebook just altered history.

As predicted here, the social network shut down today the historical profile pages for two University of Nebraska’s class of 1915 alumni: Joe McDonald and Leola Lewis. Donnelyn Curtis, the librarian behind the accounts, noticed this morning when she was unable to log in.

Curtis’ profiles were in violation of Facebook policy, which explains that profiles are for the living, and pages are for businesses and other entities.

“It’s against our terms of service to create… a Profile on behalf of a person who is not living,” a Facebook spokesperson told us in an email. “Instead, we encourage people to create a Page in order to establish a presence on Facebook for a non-living person.”

However, Curtis said she didn’t have the time to create pages instead of profiles. After her social media history lesson was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, she told Mashable she was too busy fielding friend requests to do anything else.

“I guess popularity kills,” she said.

For Curtis, the profiles were a well-intentioned history lesson. With permission from Joe McDonald’s granddaughter, she used historical archive data to paint a picture of what Joe and Leola’s college life must have been like, complete with references to old-fashioned dinners like ox-tail soup and world events like a smallpox epidemic.

However, the lesson might not be finished. Curtis told Mashable she plans to get in touch with Facebook (so far a futile effort) in order to retrieve and transfer her content.

No matter where she brings the project, we just hope that next time she reads the rules first.

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*First Published: Jan 11, 2012, 6:14 pm CST