“Looking beyond the heavily dissected interviews and nonstop jokes on Twitter, the Te’o saga has brought a new question to the forefront: just what kind of crime is posing as someone else online, if it’s a crime at all? It’s a challenging issue that state legislatures and courts have been quietly started grappling with in recent years, and there’s a growing consensus that masquerading as someone else on Facebook, Twitter or through email is no laughing matter—do it with just enough malice and you could wind up behind bars…. As for Te’o, lawyers doubt that his alleged hoaxer would face criminal charges as an online impersonator. To charge someone with the crime, most states require that the hoaxer mimic an actual person—Kekua, Te’o’s girlfriend was fictitious, though an actual woman’s photos were used without her consent to represent Kekua. It’s also hard to distinguish between the harm caused by the hoax and the harm Te’o brought on himself…”
-Time.com: Can You Go to Jail for Impersonating Someone Online?