Facebook has mistakenly deactivated the account of a woman named Isis, probably after assuming she had a connection with the jihadist extremist militant group known as ISIS.
The user, whose full, real name is Isis Anchalee made news headlines in August also, when she initiated a popular campaign under the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer.
At the time, the 22-year old had tried to raise awareness of the widespread sexism encountered in the IT field, where women have difficulty being taken seriously, especially if they are young and attractive.
Now, Anchalee was brought back into the spotlight after tweeting about Facebook’s decision to disable her account, although she hadn’t breached any terms and conditions.
She even accompanied her message posted on Facebook’s Twitter page with a screenshot proving that she was being denied access to her profile page. Moreover, as a friend of hers reported, a message conservation that they had been having the day before now appeared as “spam”.
In her complaint, the platform engineer employed at OneLogin suggested that not being allowed to use her account anymore was linked to the fact that her name is Isis, just like the acronym commonly used for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
As she explained, Facebook employees had probably been under the false impression that she had a connection with terrorist groups, and that is why they wanted to ban her from their website.
Apparently, the software developer had attempted to contact representatives of the popular social network on three occasions, in order to clarify this misunderstanding.
In fact, she even sent them a scanned copy of her passport, so as to prove that she had simply been trying to use her birth name.
It had been just an unfortunate coincidence that this was identical to the acronym used by the Islamic State, a terrorist group which has recently claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks on November 13.
Eventually, Facebook researcher Omid Farivar apologized for the mistake and announced on Tuesday, November 17 that Anchalee’s account had been reinstated, after having been blocked for around one day.
According to the version of events supported by company representatives on Wednesday, the temporary issue had simply been an error which took place as engineers were trying to find and remove fake accounts.
Also, spokespersons were quick to deny the claims made by Anchalee, and insisted that the deactivation was completely unrelated in any way to the obvious similarity between the woman’s name, and the countercultural movement known as ISIS.
Back in August, an online petition launched by people named Isis called for news outlets to stop using this acronym when referring to the Sunni jihadist group. By the time the campaign ended, it had managed to raise over 56,800 signatures in support of this proposal urging the mass media to opt for other denominations, such as Daesh.
Such petitions might become even more popular these days, given that Facebook has declared that starting from December it would introduce a new “real name” policy, suspending or banning users whose names include symbols, professional or religious titles, and “offensive or suggestive words of any kind”.
Image Source: Twitter