Salman Rushdie makes friends with Facebook

Thursday 17 November 2011 14.00
Salman Rushdie was not enjoying his online identity crisis
Salman Rushdie was not enjoying his online identity crisis

British author Salman Rushdie has won a tussle with Facebook over his profile page on the social network.

Mr Rushdie's run-in with Facebook stemmed from his insistence he be allowed to use his middle name - Salman, the one he is universally known by - instead of his first name - Ahmed - on Facebook.

He recounted the saga in a series of tweets on Monday to the more than 113,000 followers of his Twitter account @salmanrushdie.

Facebook requires its more than 800 million members to use their real names on the social networking site and also bars pseudonyms.

Mr Rushdie, who spent a decade in hiding after his book "The Satanic Verses" sparked threats against his life, said Facebook deactivated his page over the weekend "saying they didn't believe I was me”.

The author said he sent a photograph of his passport to Facebook.

"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," he said.

"They have reactivated my FB page as 'Ahmed Rushdie,' in spite of the world knowing me as Salman. Morons," he said.

Mr Rushdie even tried reaching out directly to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Twitter. "Where are you hiding, Mark? Come out here and give me back my name!" he said.

Failing to get a response from Facebook, Mr Rushdie turned to what he called "ridicule by the Twitterverse."

"Dear #Facebook, forcing me to change my FB name from Salman to Ahmed Rushdie is like forcing J Edgar to become John Hoover," he said.

"Or, if F Scott Fitzgerald was on #Facebook, would they force him to be Francis Fitzgerald? What about F Murray Abraham?"

Mr Rushdie's pleas were eventually answered.

"Victory! #Facebook has buckled! I'm Salman Rushdie again. I feel SO much better. An identity crisis at my age is no fun. Thank you Twitter!" he said.

"Just received an apology from The #Facebook Team," he added. "All is sweetness and light."