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Facebook Makes Mistakes in Fight Against Terrorism, Disables Woman's Account Whose First Name is 'Isis'

First Posted: Nov 19, 2015 07:37 AM EST
Social Networking Sites May Be Monitored By Security Services

Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Here's something you don't hear very often, and hopefully not ever again. A California woman named Isis Anchalee had her Facebook account deactivated apparently due to her first name.

The 22-year-old San Francisco-based engineer logged into her social media account on Monday only to find out it had been suspended. She implied the lockdown was triggered by her first name's association with the terrorist organization known as ISIS.

"Facebook thinks I'm a terrorist. Apparently sending them a screenshot of my passport is not good enough for them to reopen my account," said Anchalee on Twitter.

Moments after Anchalee tweeted out her complaint, one person reported that a friend had also experienced a similar issue.

Omid Farivar, a Facebook researcher, tweeted Anchalee to apologize for the blunder, saying that the issue had been reported and that Facebook will be coming up with a fix.

The suspension was ultimately reversed, but according to BGR, the mix-up only highlighted Facebook's ongoing automation problem. As per the site's official policy, profile names must represent an "authentic identity; as your friends call you in real life" and must be a name that can be verified with various forms of identification. Needless to say, Facebook's balancing act still has a lot of polishing up to do.

The recent incident isn't the first time someone got banned from Facebook because of their name. Back in August, an Arizona couple claimed they were barred from using the social networking site until they verified their rather unusual last name: Avatar.

In Anchalee's case, presenting her passport was not enough to regain her account. Considering the recent ISIS attacks, more Facebook users are expected to experience the same predicament. In fact, over 50,000 people have supported a petition on ThePetitionSite, calling the media to stop using the term ISIS to refer to terrorists, as it can be harmful to women, especially young girls, to constantly hear their name being used to describe a terror group.

As for Anchalee, some might remember her as the female engineer who launched the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign back in August. This was after one of her promotional ads sparked online controversy over what a female engineer should look like.

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