Facebook Tells Salman Rushdie He Has to Go By His Given Name, Ahmed Rushdie

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This is the sort of thing that makes you wonder what real names policy is all about. Today on Twitter, Salman Rushdie detailed his adventures with Facebook's name police.

"Amazing. 2 days ago FB deactivated my page saying they didn't believe I was me. I had to send a photo of my passport page. THEN... they said yes, I was me, but insisted I use the name Ahmed which appears before Salman on my passport and which I have never used," Rushdie wrote. "NOW... They have reactivated my FB page as 'Ahmed Rushdie,' in spite of the world knowing me as Salman. Morons."

You know, Ahmed Rushdie, world-famous author of The Satanic Verses and Midnight's Children.

Seriously, what is the point of forcing Salman Rushdie to go by Ahmed Rushdie? How does this benefit the social web?


Update (1:46pm): Our collective exasperation worked! Facebook, in Rushdie's words, "buckled." He will be Salman Rushdie again.

Update (2:15pm): Facebook has responded officially. "This action was taken in error," they say, "and Mr. Rushdie's account has been reactivated with the correct name. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
" That would be in accord with their policy to let people go by their middle names.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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