The tattoo was said to be a Valentine's Day gift and she did it very soon after the two started dating.
The girlfriend and the photo were both fake, but before people knew the truth the image went viral, turning Austin Knill into a minor celebrity.
The whole thing started when Knill and his friend Cameron Kenis set out to convince people one of them had a girlfriend named Sara Hartly.
"We rock paper scissored for which of us would get her," Knill admitted to Openfile. "It was amusing at first but we quickly decided it would be more fun to have her appear to be utterly insane."
Knill and Kenis created a fake Facebook account and gave her fake friends, whose names were anagrams: Maria Gina = imaginary, Carol Tifiling = fictional girl. Then, the pair started making Hartly do strange things, such as get a tattoo of Knill on her bicep.
The pranksters actually used a stock image and edited it using Photoshop. Knill isn't sure how it happened, but the post made it onto use.com with the headline "UVic: Crazy gf gets tattoo of bf after one week."
"Someone else cropped the conversation together and went to the trouble of blacking out the names to protect our anonymity," Knill told Openfile. "Anyway word got out so I just decided to run with it."
Since the post went viral, Knill has received a constant barrage of friend requests, but all of the attention isn't coming at the best time. In dealing with the fame, he hasn't has much peace and quiet to study for his midterm exams.
"I guess in the end I trolled myself most of all," he said to Openfile.
He didn't want to lie to his friends indefinitely so he revealed it was a hoax. He also said the clever Internet community would have realized it eventually and would have labeled him as a fraud.
While the image is making the rounds, Knill seems to know his fame is short-lived. On his Facebook page, he quotes Andy Warhol from 1968 writing, "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."
(Image courtesy of Austin Knill's Facebook page)