Sir Salman Rushdie has won a bizarre battle with Facebook which deactivated his account at the weekend because the world-famous author was not using his legal birth name ‘Ahmed’ to identify himself on the service.
The embarrassing stand-off began when the author was asked to send his passport to Facebook in order to prove his identity, after which the company asked him to use the stated birth name rather than the middle name he has used throughout his career, ‘Salman’.
Eventually, having had his account verified and reinstated under his unfamiliar birth name, Rushdie turned to rival service Twitter to vent his annoyance.
“Dear Facebook, forcing me to change my name from Salman to Ahmed Rushdie is like forcing J. Edgar to become John Hoover,” he said in one of several curt tweets.
“Have been trying to get somebody at Facebook to respond. No luck. Am now hoping that ridicule by the Twitterverse will achieve what I can't,” he continued.
Eventually Facebook relented on its strict but in this case cack-handed identity policy, allowing Rushdie to declare “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!”
Ironically, only weeks ago the author found his debut on Twitter far from smooth after finding his name already in use by a name-squatter on the service. Unlike, Facebook, Twitter quickly relented.
Rushdie’s novels include Midnight’s Children (1981) and possibly the most contentious novel of the late 20th Century, the Satanic Verses (1988), which in 1989 earned him a death sentence in absentia from the then supreme religious leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini.