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Ahmed Salman Rushdie
November 15, 2011 9:52 PM   Subscribe

How Salman Rushdie Used Twitter to Defeat Facebook On Monday, world-famous author Salman Rushdie, who won the “Booker of Booker” prize for his novel Midnight’s Children, revealed that Facebook had deleted his account at the weekend — and then, when he sent the company a copy of his passport to prove who he said he was, denied him the right to use “Salman” as his first name. (The author’s full given name, which he never uses, is Ahmed Salman Rushdie.)
posted by sweetkid (65 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I guess that kind of places Zuckerberg in the same company as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. From fatwa to wtf.
posted by perhapses at 9:59 PM on November 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


Look, Zuckerberg is kind of a tool and I hate Facebook, but let's not go tossing out blithe comparisons to the goddamned Ayatollah Khomeini.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 PM on November 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


I have a feeling that this has everything to do with Facebook being able to hand you over to the government if they come calling. Google did something similar when they claimed that pseudonyms would take a couple months to implement. This means little to either Google's or Facebook's bottom line; they need to hand over your precise network to marketers, but they really don't care very much about every single person having their name be precise. It would only matter to the government.

That said, this particular instance is surely just some peon mindlessly enforcing policy. But it is a very curious policy.
posted by Llama-Lime at 10:13 PM on November 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Look, Zuckerberg is kind of a tool and I hate Facebook, but let's not go tossing out blithe comparisons to the goddamned Ayatollah Khomeini."

It's hyperbole to be sure, but "from fatwa to wtf" is a brilliant turn of phrase.
posted by themanwho at 10:26 PM on November 15, 2011 [43 favorites]


Sal Bass
posted by Sys Rq at 10:26 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Look, Zuckerberg is kind of a tool and I hate Facebook, but let's not go tossing out blithe comparisons to the goddamned Ayatollah Khomeini."

Why not?
posted by infini at 10:30 PM on November 15, 2011


Why not?

Zuckerberg is a tool and I hate him as much as the next guy, but comparing him to someone who at one point ordered the deaths (by slow hanging) of 4,482 people in one go seems perhaps a bit rich.

That said, I doubt Zuck could rock half of Khomeini's beard.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:35 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hear what you're saying but I wonder what the difference truly is between releasing reams of data to enable a more challenged life and the above mentioned detail about Khomeini.
posted by infini at 10:40 PM on November 15, 2011


I'd say the difference is the death of 4,482 people.
posted by rube goldberg at 10:50 PM on November 15, 2011 [28 favorites]


I'm curious if the Facebook employee simply did not know who Salman Rushdie is (which sort of boggles my brain, but maybe it shouldn't?), or if he/she was just like, these are the rules and they also apply to you, Mister Fancypants Novelist Booker-Winner World-Famous Dude.
posted by taz at 11:04 PM on November 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Er, wasn't it the Ayatollah who issued the fatwa?
posted by marienbad at 11:06 PM on November 15, 2011


And I also love the fatwa/wtf joke.
posted by marienbad at 11:08 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Comparisons require difference. Otherwise they'd be equations.

Facebook and the Ayatollah are alike in that they both got onto Salman Rushdie's naughty list.

Look! A comparison! And the world didn't end!

Could the derail end, though? This is a very important issue with much to be discussed.

Oh, wait.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:13 PM on November 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


If I was a millennial douchebag whose cultural knowledge was culled only from Simpsons episodes since the year 2000 and whatever it takes to not get pwnd on a fan forum, then I would think Salman Rushdie is a fake name too.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:16 PM on November 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Remember when everyone bought the Satanic Verses and no one read it? I read it. It was fantastic. Rushdie is the Marquez of British Arabs and he can do no wrong. The Machine must bow to Salman, not the other way around.
posted by clarknova at 11:22 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure what I find most sad: Rushdie being on Twitter (and using truncated words/text abbreviations), him getting into an Internet slap fight with Facebook (much less bring on Facebook), or that Entourage is one of his favorite TV shows. Also, he called Game Of Thrones "well produced trash," and said that The Wire was "just a police series".

I'm now picturing him in an Ed Hardy shirt and backwards baseball cap, his giant chunky watch glittering in the moonlight...
posted by weirdoactor at 11:32 PM on November 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


Rushdie's children's book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a witty and delightful fantasy story that's not just for kids.
posted by straight at 11:46 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rushdie and Zuckerberg should settle this with a duel. The duel of somewhat dickish geniuses.
posted by tigrefacile at 11:59 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


People who complain about Rushdie not being readable are usually people who don't like reading anything more complex than Harry Potter. I haven't read his recent novels, but Midnight's Children, Shame and The Satanic Verses are astonishing achievements. Some of his subsequent behaviour has been disagreeable, but I think you have to allow a little latitude to a genius who has been under serious threat of violent death for twenty years.
posted by nja at 12:06 AM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Look, Zuckerberg is kind of a tool and I hate Facebook, but let's not go tossing out blithe comparisons to the goddamned Ayatollah Khomeini.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:04 AM on November 16


Or, let's learn to spot an an obvious goddamned joke.
posted by Decani at 12:13 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Rushdie is the Marquez of British Arabs

Uhm... Rushdie is not Arab. According to Wikipedia, he's Kashmiri - that's people close to Iranians, and Iranians aren't Arabs.

Both languages use similar script, but Arabic is a Semitic language (and quite close to Hebrew, btw), while Iranian/Kashmiri belong to Indo-European language family.

Relations between Iranians and Arabs aren't exactly friendly, too: "Diplomatic cables ... showed that Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain supported a military attack against Iran aimed to stop the Iranian nuclear program").

They belong to different branches of Islam, Shia and Sunni respectively, like Protestants/Catholics in Christianity.
So calling Iranian an Arab... you know, it's kinda like calling an Irishman English :)
posted by egor83 at 12:16 AM on November 16, 2011 [17 favorites]


People who complain about Rushdie not being readable are usually people who don't like reading anything more complex than Harry Potter.

Shall I provide a list of my favorite authors, sorted by "complexity?"

I tried to read a Rushdie book once and found it just incredibly dry and pedestrian. The kind of thing that wins big international awards and there's just nothing alive in there. Kind of a Ron Howard film in book form.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:32 AM on November 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile, people continue to believe that a first and last name but no Social Security number is something the government or mysterious "privacy violators" can use to identify someone.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:34 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


People who complain about Rushdie not being readable are usually people who don't like reading anything more complex than Harry Potter.

Nothing like a bit of middlebrow elitism to liven up a thread.. Honestly, sometimes nonsense like that makes me hate consumerism even more; you're not what you buy, read, wear, etc. It's a perfectly reasonable thing for people to disagree with each other about Rushdie's literary merits and neither has to be an idiot.

Just like it's a perfectly reasonable thing for no one to give a shit about some trivial celebrity nonsense about a facebook problem that has been resolved, and for such a thing to be neither a grand statement on facebook, or the celebrity in question - I got someone else's mail last week, too; if they were famous would it have to be a conspiracy or a cutting indictment of the postal service?
posted by smoke at 1:59 AM on November 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


Zuckerberg is a tool and I hate him as much as the next guy, but comparing him to someone who at one point ordered the deaths (by slow hanging) of 4,482 people in one go seems perhaps a bit rich.

Hear. Hear. It's not fair to make this sort of comparison yet; don't count the boy out. Zuckerberg still has a long career in front of him and 4,483 is a prime number.
posted by three blind mice at 2:15 AM on November 16, 2011


Meanwhile, people continue to believe that a first and last name but no Social Security number is something the government or mysterious "privacy violators" can use to identify someone.
It is if you're not named "John Tylor" or "Steven Jacobs" or something like that. There are lots of people practically unique names, especially online.
posted by delmoi at 2:33 AM on November 16, 2011


I think that if people are publicly posting things online under their own names, the question of whether precautions should be taken to retain their anonymity is somewhat moot.

Signed
Jeremy Irons
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:01 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


They belong to different branches of Islam, Shia and Sunni respectively, like Protestants/Catholics in Christianity.


This is one of those generalisations, like the idea that all Irish are Catholic and English Protestant, that is only accurate enough to be dangerously misleading. Not suggesting you're not aware of that, just adding the caveat.

posted by howfar at 3:58 AM on November 16, 2011


Rushdie is the Marquez of British Arabs and he can do no wrong.

People who complain about Rushdie not being readable are usually people who don't like reading anything more complex than Harry Potter.


I've somehow managed to read all his books after The Satanic Verses, so I might be judging him on sub-par work, but he's not really to my taste. He doesn't engage me and complexity is not to blame (coincidentally, I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow, which is great tyvm). I should probably get around to reading his major work, but not every writer has to connect with everyone.
posted by ersatz at 4:28 AM on November 16, 2011


Seeing as how Rushdie himself claims his Indian heritage (Midnight's Children is a title that plays upon the 'tryst with destiny' speech of Jawaharlal Nehru at midnight on August 15th 1947 when India finally became independent) being Kashmiri is about as much detail as being Tamil (like the founder of Infosys) or Bengali (like Satyajit Ray).

He's usually referred to as Indian-British

Otoh, this may have more to do with his name being from a certain highly profiled section of global society, after all they recently frisked APJ Abdul Kalam in NYC only to apologize later.
posted by infini at 4:46 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did he really 'defeat' Facebook? Or did he just Twitter-rage about it and higher ups at FB realized they made a mistake?

I'm confident someone without Rushdie's influence would garner the same attention.
posted by glaucon at 5:10 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


So how does this work for performers who are known only by their stage names? Would David Bowie have to give up to his profile to some kid who really is called David Bowie (and not Jones)? Could Bono only get an account as plain old Paul Hewson?
posted by dickasso at 5:10 AM on November 16, 2011


Meanwhile, people continue to believe that a first and last name but no Social Security number is something the government or mysterious "privacy violators" can use to identify someone.

Including those people at the FBI and TSA!
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:11 AM on November 16, 2011


I've read a couple of articles about this now and am still unclear about why Salman Rushdie's account was flagged and deleted as fake in the first place. What's Facebook's process for that? It obviously sucks, whatever it is.
posted by mediareport at 5:23 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, people continue to believe that a first and last name but no Social Security number is something the government or mysterious "privacy violators" can use to identify someone.

First name, last name, hometown, maybe employer and schools attended...
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:30 AM on November 16, 2011


I agree with MediaReport. With 800m active users how on earth can Facebook claim to verify more than a tiny number of people. & what's the point, apart from protecting themselves from possible libel suits if fake accounts get taken seriously.

Also, Snoop Dogg has always been Snoop Dogg on Facebook (although arguably he is effectively a corporate entity) so I don't think they really made a landmark decision letting Salman be Salman.

& finally, if you say you can't set up a fake account on Facebook then you're not trying. Just ask Joey Deacon...
posted by DanCall at 5:32 AM on November 16, 2011


why Salman Rushdie's account was flagged and deleted as fake in the first place.

Probably reported as a fake account. It wouldn't take that many people working together to all hit that button and get it sent for investigation.
posted by smackfu at 5:52 AM on November 16, 2011


Also, Snoop Dogg has always been Snoop Dogg on Facebook (although arguably he is effectively a corporate entity) so I don't think they really made a landmark decision letting Salman be Salman.

Actually, he has a page for the musical act as Snoop Dogg, but his personal page is under Calvin Broadus (Snoop Dogg).
posted by smackfu at 5:54 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess what I'm wondering is "what was the investigation?" The account was deleted without warning. That process sucks.
posted by mediareport at 5:54 AM on November 16, 2011


Wow, amazing: famous person can wrest special treatment out of Facebook that the unwashed, Harry-Potter-reading masses cannot.
posted by tyllwin at 6:02 AM on November 16, 2011


@smackfu - I stand corrected!
posted by DanCall at 6:03 AM on November 16, 2011


I tried to read a Rushdie book once and found it just incredibly dry and pedestrian. The kind of thing that wins big international awards and there's just nothing alive in there. Kind of a Ron Howard film in book form.

Just curious, but which one? I loved Satanic Verses, except it got a little sloppy towards the end.
posted by Think_Long at 6:17 AM on November 16, 2011


...he can do no wrong.

To wit: Rushdie's limerick on Kim Kardashian.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:29 AM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


So how does this work for performers who are known only by their stage names? Would David Bowie have to give up to his profile to some kid who really is called David Bowie (and not Jones)? Could Bono only get an account as plain old Paul Hewson?

Earlier this year I found out that someone I knew in high school wound up being the lead actress in a Shia LeBeouf film and then had a major role in a teevee drama (which has since been cancelled). Because I'm in my twenties and we went to high school together, we are of course Facebook friends, so I looked through her contacts and she was friends will, actually, a lot of well-known actors, all of whom have personal Facebook pages set up with fake or distorted versions of their own names. It's like a secret celebrity Facebook. It was sort of weird.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:35 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The stupidity of this is obvious...I mean...does Bono have to use his real name? What about Flea? What if Wavy Gravy were alive? What if Deep Throat were still alive and was using Facebook? Are the dickheads who are responsible for monitoring this following any rules like "please google the name before deciding that you know everyone culturally relevant even though you are barely out of diapers' or do they let 22 year olds decide on their own?
posted by spicynuts at 6:37 AM on November 16, 2011


Wow, amazing: famous person can wrest special treatment out of Facebook that the unwashed, Harry-Potter-reading masses cannot.

I'm actually reading the opposite situation here: famous person gets harassed by Facebook for using the most familiar public variant of his given name, whereas a good number of my (non-famous) friends on Facebook are allowed to use fakety-fake IDs with no repercussions.

I tried to read a Rushdie book once and found it just incredibly dry and pedestrian.

That's...incredible to me, since I've found his books to generally be so juicy and ribald that I feel like I'm cheating by getting to enjoy such guilty pleasures as Sophisticated Literature. The Moor's Last Sigh is probably the most breathtaking adventure I've read in the past ten years.

I admit, I am kind of a fanboy.

Although Fury was no great shakes, excepting the amusing detail of a very very thinly-veiled Padma Lakshmi stand-in character.

posted by psoas at 6:37 AM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's like a secret celebrity Facebook. It was sort of weird.

I know this happens and it just seems so awesome to me. I went to college with a girl who's now famous, but she was already famous enough to have just a fanpage by the time we all got around to Facebook, so we're not FB friends. I do know a guy who's sister is pretty famous. I don't think the sister gets on FB much though.

You can send Jon Hamm a regular friend request though!
posted by sweetkid at 6:44 AM on November 16, 2011


I've officially become a crank now.

My family and friends have stopped pestering me about having a Facebook page. You know who keeps "inviting" me now? Businesses. I get asked all the time by my dentist, my on-line nursery, my chicken supply guy, my pizza place, etc. Everybody wants me to start an account so that I can befriend them and get coupons! Whooo Hoo. It's not going to happen.

I really think you guys have given Facebook too much power and I don't doubt for a second that it is going to back to bite you in the ass.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:45 AM on November 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've officially become a crank now.

My family and friends have stopped pestering me about having a Facebook page. You know who keeps "inviting" me now? Businesses. I get asked all the time by my dentist, my on-line nursery, my chicken supply guy, my pizza place, etc. Everybody wants me to start an account so that I can befriend them and get coupons! Whooo Hoo. It's not going to happen.

I really think you guys have given Facebook too much power and I don't doubt for a second that it is going to back to bite you in the ass.


Indeed. I miss stuff, which is a bummer, and I know my friends hate sending me emails about parties and so on, but the fact is that the entire goddamn activist community runs its life via Facebook, Zuckerberg is basically a technocrat with no morals and no sympathy (he's absolutely deaf to pleas about trans folks' need to use their lived name even if they haven't been able to change their names legally, for example) who will no doubt fork over everything everyone's ever posted to the Department of Post-Crisis Policing the minute they ask, and we are so, so screwed. Every activist network in this country could be rolled up by the fibbies in a hot minute because every single thing is networked. (Why? Because McCarthy, the AIDS crisis and union-busting deprived us of generational continuity and the millenials are really naive about this stuff.)
posted by Frowner at 6:53 AM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Also, Rushdie is kind of sexist and creepy, but I truly loved The Satanic Verses and some of his earlier stuff. Celebrity and the fatwa kind of destroyed him as an intellectual, I think - he turned into this wishy-washy neoliberal bore, all you need to do is contrast his first book of essays (awesome!) with his later ones (NYRB-level upper-middle blah).
posted by Frowner at 6:56 AM on November 16, 2011


Related: How Brandon Blatcher used AskMe to defeat Facebook.
posted by TedW at 6:58 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


To wit: Rushdie's limerick on Kim Kardashian.
The marriage of poor kim #kardashian
was krushed like a kar in a krashian.
her kris kried, not fair!
why kan't I keep my share?
But kardashian fell klean outa fashian

Amusing, but the fifth line doesn't scan properly.
posted by mikepop at 7:08 AM on November 16, 2011


Rushdie's children's book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a witty and delightful fantasy story that's not just for kids.

Oh man, I read Haroun when I was maybe nine or ten and I thought it was the greatest thing ever.

And then when we went on vacation that summer, we were staying with some people who had a copy of The Satanic Verses on their shelf and I was all "Oh boy! I wanna read that one! That's my favorite!" and everyone else was all "Okay WTF kid?"
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:15 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


fifth line fourth line

apparently I am not scanning properly yet either
posted by mikepop at 7:16 AM on November 16, 2011


Amusing, but the fifth line doesn't scan properly.

fifth line fourth line


True, but I figure we can cut the guy who won a Booker and later a, like, Ultimate Booker, a little slack in how he tweets a limerick.

posted by Capt. Renault at 7:40 AM on November 16, 2011


> Every activist network in this country could be rolled up by the fibbies in a hot minute because every single thing is networked.

Aye aye aye aye aye aye aye.

Did anybody else notice the Diaspora* guy's obituary?
posted by bukvich at 7:49 AM on November 16, 2011


I guess that kind of places Zuckerberg in the same company as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. From fatwa to wtf.

Brilliant. I can't wait to use the 'fatwa to wtf'. Now I wait for the right opportunity...
posted by savitarka at 8:07 AM on November 16, 2011


Brilliant. I can't wait to use the 'fatwa to wtf'. Now I wait for the right opportunity...

Written, yeah, but spoken? Would it be 'fatwa to whatdafa'? Or, 'fatwa to W. T. F.'? Or 'fatwa to what the fuck'? Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2011


> Or 'fatwa to what the fuck'? Inquiring minds want to know.

That one, but you'd have to say it kind of fast and slurred like "whatthafuhhck".
posted by Burhanistan at 9:16 AM on November 16, 2011


Meanwhile, people continue to believe that a first and last name but no Social Security number is something the government or mysterious "privacy violators" can use to identify someone.

So non-Americans have nothing to worry about? You're aware that people who aren't American don't have social security numbers, right? And for the record, they're not called "ZIP codes" outside the US either.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:29 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember when everyone bought the Satanic Verses and no one read it? I read it.

SLOW CLAP
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2011


WHAT
THE
FATWA
MARK?
posted by George Clooney at 11:21 AM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


jabberjaw: If I was a millennial douchebag whose cultural knowledge was culled only from Simpsons episodes since the year 2000 and whatever it takes to not get pwnd on a fan forum, then I would think Salman Rushdie is a fake name too.

Funny you should mention that, as I just this minute finished watching the Simpsons episode where Khomeini gets a nod.
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 4:18 PM on November 16, 2011


I have a fondness for most britishisms, but I can't abide "at the weekend." WTF, England?
posted by LiteOpera at 7:23 PM on November 16, 2011


Meanwhile, people continue to believe that a first and last name but no Social Security number is something the government or mysterious "privacy violators" can use to identify someone.

In most cases they don't even need your names— the social graph alone, stripped of any supposedly-identifying information, is distinctive enough to be de-anonymized. Having a large number of "real" names helps resolve uncertainties, though, I'm sure.
posted by hattifattener at 11:29 AM on November 17, 2011


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