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March 9, 2021

Facebook says it froze user named Isis by mistake

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Image:A Facebook logo is displayed on the side of a tour bus in New York’s financial district July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

By Melissa Fares

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook Inc said it erroneously disabled the personal account of a user named Isis Anchalee for about a day, an action the user claims was due to her name being spelt the same as the acronym used for the Islamic State extremist group.

Anchalee, a software developer in San Francisco, on Monday posted a screenshot of a Facebook log-in page that showed a message “Account disabled”. She wrote to Facebook’s Twitter page (@facebook), “why would you disable my personal account? MY REAL NAME IS ISIS ANCHALEE”.

Anchalee said she sent Facebook her personal information three times to resolve the issue.

“Facebook thinks I’m a terrorist. Apparently sending them a screenshot of my passport is not good enough for them to reopen my account,” Anchalee wrote on Twitter.

A researcher at Facebook responded on Twitter on Tuesday that her account was activated again.

“This was an error made as part of a fake account reporting process and we’re sorry for the trouble it caused. It was not connected to the individual’s name and her account has already been restored,” a Facebook spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Many people with the name Isis – an Ancient Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and wisdom, have expressed concerns about the use of the acronym ISIS to refer to Islamic State, the group which claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.

An online petition on the issue calling for media to “stop calling terrorists (Islamic State) by our name” closed on 24 August with more than 56,800 signatures.


(Reporting by Melissa Fares; Writing by Angela Moon; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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