Facebook unblocks the FB account of user named ISIS after huge social media outcry

Facebook thinks ‘I am a terrorist’, says Anchalee Isis

San Francisco-based engineer Isis Anchalee had her account blocked by Facebook because of her name. Isis claimed that in her tweet she had to ‘verify’ her identity three times including by sending in a scan of her passport before Facebook would accept that she was a human being and not a global terrorist organization.

Tweeting to the @facebook account, Anchalee said: “I sent you my passport but it’s not good enough for validation?”

ISIS is commonly used to refer to the terrorist group known as Islamic State along with IS and Daesh.

Based in San Francisco, California, Isis tweeted at Facebook earlier this week “Why would you disable my personal account? MY REAL NAME IS ISIS ANCHALEE/facepalm.” She also included a screenshot of a Facebook page telling her account was disabled.

San Francisco filmmaker David Zandman, a friend of Anchalee’s, tweeted to ask why a Facebook conversation with her had been marked as spam. Anchalee said:

“Facebook thinks I’m a terrorist and froze my account,” to which Zandman replied: “I was afraid that might be the case… I’m sorry your name drama continues!”

Only after a third attempt of sending her details to the website, her account was finally restored along with an apology from the company. Later, she tweeted a screenshot of a message from Facebook, which said it had unlocked her account, and added: “We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

Facebook researcher Omid Farivar has since reached out to Isis Anchalee on Twitter to publicly apologise for the issue.

“Isis, sorry about this”, he wrote “I don’t know what happened. I’ve reported it to the right people and we’re working on fixing it”.

Isis was best known as the name of the supreme Egyptian goddess of the moon, sky, magic, motherhood and fertility before it got linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Isis Anchalee is best known as the female engineer who started the #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign earlier this year after an advertisement featuring her sparked controversy online over what a female engineer “should look like.”

Facebook has a “real names” policy which forbids people from using fake names or ‘offensive’ words. Users are asked to refrain from any symbols, unusual characters, punctuation, religious titles, or “offensive or suggestive words of any kind” to their names to “keep our community safe”. This is designed to prevent impersonation accounts, parodies, and any accounts that could be seen as confrontational or offensive.

In August, an online petition requesting media outlets “stop calling terrorists [Islamic State] by our name” was closed with some 56,800 signatures.

Founder Isis Martinez of Florida said women called Isis faced “unnecessary backlash of this irresponsible choice by the media”.

“We are grateful for the response and coverage we have received from the media, but most media outlets continue to desecrate our name and even go as far as misquoting the president of the United States saying Isis, when he only refers to the terror group as Isil.

“Please sign and help the thousands of women and little girls named Isis who are suffering from this backlash caused by the media.

“Help us take back our name.”

Facebook Unblocks the Account of a User Named ‘Isis’

Facebook has acknowledged that it made a mistake in disabling the account of Isis Anchalee, a software engineer based in San Francisco.

Facebook sent a statement to NBC News on Wednesday saying it had disabled the account by mistake.

The social network confirmed that the profile had been flagged by one or more people, as part of the process for identifying fake or offensive accounts.

“This was an error made as part of a fake account reporting process, and we’re sorry for the trouble it caused,” Facebook said. It did not say who had reported Anchalee’s account.

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