A woman called “Isis” discovered to her surprise this week that Facebook had suddenly suspended her account. She contacted the social networking site for an explanation, but after hearing nothing back, she offered her own reason on Twitter, telling her followers: “Facebook thinks I’m a terrorist.”
Assuming the move had been made because her name is the same as the commonly used acronym for the Islamic State extremist group, Isis Anchalee, an engineer based in San Francisco, addressed the company directly in another tweet, asking, “@facebook why would you disable my personal account? MY REAL NAME IS ISIS ANCHALEE”.
The engineer said that resolving the issue turned out to be trickier than expected. Twice she sent proof of her identity to Facebook and twice she heard nothing back.
“Facebook thinks I’m a terrorist. Apparently sending them a screenshot of my passport is not good enough for them to reopen my account,” she tweeted on Wednesday.
Facebook thinks I’m a terrorist. Apparently sending them a screenshot of my passport is not good enough for them to reopen my account.
— Isis Anchalee (@isisAnchalee) November 17, 2015
Anchalee sent proof of identity a third time and as the story started to gain attention, Facebook finally addressed the issue and restored the engineer’s account. In a tweet to Anchalee, Facebook’s Omid Farivar said, “@isisAnchalee Isis, sorry about this. I don’t know what happened. I’ve reported it to the right people and we’re working on fixing it.”
Facebook’s sometimes controversial “real name” policy means that if a moderator suspects someone is using the service under a pseudonym, they can suspend the account and ask for verification.
However, in Anchalee’s case, that request was so slow coming that she ended up contacting the company herself. Her account has now been restored.
Earlier in the week, shortly before her trouble with Facebook started, Anchalee had complained about Lyft and Uber drivers constantly asking her about her name. “It’s starting to make me angry,” she tweeted.