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Salman Rushdie Takes on Facebook’s Identity Policies

Author tweets his victory
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Novelist Salman Rushdie has won his battle with Facebook about what name he can use on his account. The social network had deactivated his account after Rushdie asked to use his middle name, Salman, which he uses professionally, instead of his first name, Ahmed.

Facebook, which imposes a strict real-name policy, apparently also asked the author to send a copy of his passport to verify his identity.

The award-winning writer took to Twitter on Monday to voice his anger. "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,” Rushdie told his 115,00 followers. “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, who won the 1981 Booker Prize for his novel Midnight’s Children, spared no punches for the “morons” handling his Facebook account, including the company’s co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

“They have reactivated my FB page as "Ahmed Rushdie," in spite of the world knowing me as Salman,” @SalmanRushdie tweeted. “Morons. @MarkZuckerbergF? Are you listening?”

The 64-year old author said the policy was akin to asking former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to identify himself as John Hoover. Similarly, F. Scott Fitzgerald would become Francis Fitzgerald, Rushdie argued.

Within two hours, however, the situation was resolved.

“Victory! #Facebook has buckled!” the Satanic Verses author tweeted. “I'm Salman Rushdie again. I feel SO much better. An identity crisis at my age is no fun. Thank you Twitter!”

Facebook has apologized officially to the complaints. "This action was taken in error," a spokesman said. "Mr. Rushdie's account has been reactivated with the correct name. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."