Woman named Isis banned from Facebook because of her name

Bristol's Isis Thomas who was blocked from using Facebook because of her first name. Photo / Facebook
Bristol's Isis Thomas who was blocked from using Facebook because of her first name. Photo / Facebook

Facebook is continuing with its campaign to take on the Islamic State terrorists - and fighting the battle one woman named Isis at a time.

The latest woman to be caught in the crosshairs of their campaign to rid the social media platform of radical Islamist terrorists is Isis Thomas, 27, from Bristol in the UK, whose account was frozen yesterday due to her being named after the Egyptian goddess of motherhood.

She described how she logged into the platform, and saw her password being accepted ... but then a box popped up asking her to change her name.

She had previously been on Facebook as Isis Worcester, because when she first signed up years ago she didn't use her real name, Isis Thomas, because of worries she had about her then employer.

"I thought it was about the surname,"she told Britain's The Sun tabloid.

So, she just changed her Facebook name to Isis Thomas, thinking the problem is over.

"But that didn't work and I realised they had a problem with me being called Isis."

She then received a message saying the name Isis did not comply with their policies. And that she had to send proof of identity, which she did.

This happened yesterday. Today she is still locked out, and cannot believe the insanity of it all.

American engineer Isis Anchalee could not believe that Facebook mistook her for a terrorist. Photo / Facebook
American engineer Isis Anchalee could not believe that Facebook mistook her for a terrorist. Photo / Facebook

Last year the giant social media outfit froze the account of San Francisco engineer Isis Anchalee, who promptly took to Twitter to vent her frustration at the move.

The Herald reported in May last year that a Tauranga businesswoman was forced to change the name of her business from Isis Financial Services to Bay Debt Services because of nasty comments from people.

Lisa Hotton named her Tauranga debt-collection business after the Egyptian goddess Isis in 2004, one of the principal deities of the ancient Egyptian religion.

However, she came under increasing pressure to change the name once the Islamic militant group Isis became well known around the world.

"I didn't expect to get messages from people saying 'how could you?' and 'I hope you get your head chopped off'," she said.

"It shows there's a few ignorant people out there."

The messages of abuse continued, but she was surprised that she also got many messages of support.

"I was pretty blown away because I got emails of support from people I didn't even know."

She had been adamant that she would not change the name - as it was feminine, it tied in her love of Egypt and, over the past 11 years, had become her business identity.

"I was still adamant, but the [bad] messages kept coming," Ms Hotton said.

One group who are not daunted by such nonsense are the good folk of Isis shire in Queensland, also home of the Isis Devils rugby league team.

People in the town, 50km south of the ginger-beer mecca, Bundaberg, are proud of their town's name and its rich agricultural history. Founded in 1887 on fertile farming soil, they named it after the Isis River in England.

And,they reckon they had the name before the Islamic State terrorist group did.

The town has many institutions named after the famed goddess, from the Isis War Memorial Pool, to the Isis Pharmacy, Isis Hardware store, Isis High School and Isis Golf Club.

Wayne Heidrich, owner and editor of the Isis Town & Country newspaper told Australia's Daily Mail last year that they are proud of their name and what it stands for.

"Many great families pioneered the Isis district and their descendants remain entrenched member of the community," he said.

One can only speculate what Facebook will make of Bob Dylan's 1975 song by the same name on the album Desire about a wild and woolly tale of romance starting with the lyrics: "I married Isis on the fifth day of May."

- NZ Herald

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