back to article Isis crisis: Facebook makes Bristol lass an unperson

Not so long ago you could barely move on Facebook for all the exquisitely crafted beheading videos. Now you can’t even watch a cute cat video – if your first name is Isis, anyway. Spare a thought for Isis Thomas, a 27 year-old from Bristol, who found this out when she was locked out of her Facebook account. Isis has fired off …

  1. 2460 Something

    All of these decisions are made by filter lists. To be expected that a good amount of false positives will occur. They will improve over time. And anyway, our machine overlords don't really care about the soft fleshy meatbags that resent the new world order.

    1. Huw D Silver badge

      I thought we'd got over this shit in the 80s. And the 90s. And the 00s...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In the 90s I briefly worked on "protecting the children" - helping out an internet provider that served several schools. It had an internet filter that was in effect a list of all the rude words that the administrators could think of.

      We (like many others) "discovered" the scunthorpe problem and tried in vain to work around it.

      If it's still happening 20 years later I don't see how it will ever get any better - you'll always have someone saying "but if I just tweak that regular expression, we'll be sorted".

      Anyway, the problem is not the stuff that labels itself as offensive material - some people might find pictures of women's breasts "offensive", but it's not the stuff that you really need to block.

      The real problem is the server with an innocuous name, containing files with innocuous names, with contents that you cannot unsee.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        If Zuckerburg's lot can't craft a regex that searches for the profanity but not if it's part of said town's name, perhaps I should contract out my services for millions.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isis IS another stupid label

      Just imagine if the abbreviation for Islamic State was the first choice (I believe it IS for some) then trying to filter that out IS simply not going to work.

      Why do we have this apparently benign label for them, just because that's what they say they aspire to? I think we should call them for what they are: murderous bastards.

      1. Jos V

        Re: Isis IS another stupid label

        I think that's why most arab countries call them Daesh, which pisses them off to no end. Wish the tabloids would do the same.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Isis IS another stupid label

          Richard Stallman calls them PISSI (Pseudo-Islamic State in Syria and Iraq). The name fits well.

          1. edge_e

            Re: Isis IS another stupid label


            there we go , now apple can sue them

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Isis IS another stupid label

          "most arab countries call them Daesh"

          Well, duh, of course they do, because they speak Arabic, and Daesh (al-Dawlah al-Islamīyah fī al-ʻIrāq wa-al-Shām) is the Arabic for ISIS, just as Russian-speakers when speaking Russian spoke about the CCCP, and German speakers when speaking German speak about Deutchland. Only poncy tw*ts sprinkle their conversation des jours with foreign bon mots.

          1. Michael Strorm

            Re: Isis IS another stupid label

            I find use of "Daesh" preferable *especially* when someone's speaking English.

            Reason being that whether or not it actually pisses them off in reality (and there's some scepticism about that claim)- it at least doesn't do them the favour of (a) directly parroting their name of choice and thus (b) also repeating their own self-justifying propaganda of being an "Islamic state" in the native language of the listening audience. Even with the regulatory "so-called" disclaimer or similar boilerplate attached, you know some people are going to make the mental association regardless.

            With "Daesh", non-Arabic speakers have to find out what it means and in doing are likely to be made aware of its derogatory connotations, meaning any association with its repetition is less likely to be positive.

      2. Vic

        Re: Isis IS another stupid label

        I think we should call them for what they are: murderous bastards.

        The Combined United Northern Territories of Syria.


      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Isis IS another stupid label

        I call them TBA

        That Bunch of Arseholes.

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Better still, express your displeasure by leaving Facebook and doing something interesting in real life.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      @Paul Crawford +1

      I can't vote this up enough. Simply worded to the point. Have one on me

    2. fandom

      Indeed, why do people waste their time in Facebook when they could be doing something interesting in real life like posting in The Register.

      It boggles the mind, it really does.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge


        Yes, the The Register has a "down button"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Work the system for your own benefit.

      Couldn't agree more, it's mostly full of bellends but it's tool, quite a useful one. As an amateur photographer it put me contact with some very interesting people and I'm now writing a photography book, selling my photos to a wider audience and I've got to meet a lot of very nice people in person who are also as serious about photography as me.

      So whenever I see posts like yours, I appreciate that my experience may be the rare exception, but some of us use it purely as a tool to improve our real world lives for the better rather than becomg just another tool ourselves.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Isis was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans and the downtrodden, but she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats and rulers."

    A bit like what the Conservatives claim to be.

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: Isis

      And I can't help feeling that when a lot of people reach the afterlife instead of find a host of supplicant virgins ready to do their bidding they're going to find one seriously pissed off goddess who object's to her name being abused.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Isis

        There's a goddess called Daesh?

        1. Michael Habel

          Re: Isis

          Rainbow Daesh...

    2. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Isis

      Or her parents were Dylan fans.

      There's a cracking clip of him performing 'Isis' during the 1975 Rolling Thunder Review (presumably filmed for 'Renaldo and Clara') that does the rounds on various video sites. One suspects that facepaint might not have been the only white powder backstage...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Isis

        If she looks anything like a goddess she should just delete her FB account. Unless she likes being cyber-stalked by creepy pervs.

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Isis

      I've never heard of Isis Academy, but Oxford has had a magazine called Isis since 1892, and an eponymous river (aka Thames) for rather longer.

      1. DaddyHoggy

        Re: Isis

        I believe 'Isis' is the local name for the Thames as it flows through Oxford, so many things in and around have 'Isis' in their name.

    4. Michael Habel

      Re: Isis

      If by Conservative... You meant NuLabor, then yes...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Pretty sure 99% of commentards have the 'like buttons' blocked. Although maybe not, because I swear people made more of a fuss about web bugs when they were invisible (ie tracking pixels).

    Anyway, people have short memories. Facebook was never just a normal start-up. Remember how hard the controlled media pushed Facebook at the beginning. Something like this doesn't get off the ground without the right backing.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Like-block

      Indeed, i had to unblock it to promote this story on arsebook.

    2. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: Like-block

      If I actually had a Facebook, Twitter, etc. account I'd be more concerned. Even without such accounts, I do appreciate websites like that block social network tracking by default, using

      If the "like" and "share" buttons exist, and aren't greyed out, well, that tells you something about the website you are on.

      (Note, in case I was insufficiently clear, a site with a "like" button is tracking you whether you have a Facebook account or not. Yes, you can block it, but wouldn't it be nice for the site owner not to throw you to the wolves for a pittance?)

    3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Like-block

      Dear Facebook. We have to inform you that our internet usage policy requires us to permanently block offensive webpages like and As your domain name is confusingly similar to these sites, and your site often carries improper content, we do not see a possibility to make a policy exception for you. Consider changing your name to something less offensive.

  5. M7S

    Perhaps FB are taking a leaf out of the Icelanic Law Books?

    To be fair to our new footballing overlords I read only the other day that the situation has since been improved and in fact the committee relating to such names will be abolished along with these restrictions, however for a while the two children (now 10 and 12 or thereabouts) had passports listing them as "Boy Cardew" and "Girl Cardew".

    Of course if lots of people went down this route as a form of "civil obedience" then the authorities and also people like FB would rapidly find their abilities to manage (and monetise) records went to pot and change their tune.

    1. Aqua Marina

      Re: Perhaps FB are taking a leaf out of the Icelanic Law Books?

      Took a couple of years, but all was ok in the end.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps FB are taking a leaf out of the Icelanic Law Books?

        Not that Britain is free from that nonsense. The passport office says it must take the name from the foreign birth certificate even though the naming rule used wouldn't make much sense if the child had been born Britain. If a child can have two nationalities then two names should also be allowed given that naming rules and nationality go hand in hand.

        There is a list of exceptions, but you always come across the rule that proves the exception and it seems the passport office is not fully aware of the exceptions allowed by the general register office. If I didn't have the Brexit deadline I'd have probably made more enquires but as it is I just wanted the citizenship officially recognised and passport for my kid before an arbitrary date that could be used against him in the future.

  6. sawatts

    Banjo Problem

    Reminds me of the Banjo Problem - in the 90s a (UK) school introduced a naughty-word-filter inherited from the US, which was discovered to ban the word "banjo", presumably not for musical reasons. This probably introduced a generation of school kids to a new meaning to the word.

    The real problem is that the meaning of words are fluid - especially in slang or vulgar - and meaning is in the context. Virtually any word, if used correctly, can be a euphemism for John Thomas. On one forum I currently visit the banned words list include "Wang" - the 3rd most common surname in the world!

    For the Scunthorpe Problem, I can only presume that the people who devise the filters haven't yet discovered word boundary tokens ('\<' and '\>').

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Banjo Problem

      I couldn't resist looking it up - the things you learn, eh?

      I'd only heard of the (allegedly) musical instrument, except that my parents would occasionally reminisce about fried egg sandwiches, which they called "egg banjos".

      1. TitterYeNot

        Re: Banjo Problem

        "I couldn't resist looking it up - the things you learn, eh?"

        Yes, if there's one thing you really want to avoid during a vigourous rumpy pumpy session it's snapping your banjo string...

        <Cue involuntary crossing of legs and much wincing>

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Banjo Problem

          I have always wondered sjince hearing the term.

          Which bit is it?

          Can't find anything like a string down there. Got the insides and the sliding cover. No adhesions or anything like that.

          1. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: Banjo Problem

            My Gf (now wife) snapped my banjo string many years ago, very painful, lots of blood, pissing was unpleasant for a few days...

            Everyone at work thought it was hilarious.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Banjo Problem

        It does lend a whole new concept to the meaning "banjo players"... cue "Dueling Banjos" as background music:

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Banjo Problem

      "For the Scunthorpe Problem, I can only presume that the people who devise the filters haven't yet discovered word boundary tokens ('\<' and '\>')."

      And it's takes kids 5 seconds to write "stupidcuntface" to get around the word boundaries. Unless the filter is going to spell check everything and hold enormous whitelists.

  7. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Facebook filtering

    The automated filtering on Facebook seems somewhat primitive, especially in comparison to some of the other pretty whizzy stuff they do elsewhere.

    I use FB quite a bit for promoting one of my sideline activities, and really struggled to get them to accept an ad for a promoted post because there was something in there which was falling foul of their filters. I was stumped as to what the problem was, and it took quite a few rounds against some automated services before I could actually get a human to review and OK the ad.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Spare a thought for Isis Thomas, a 27 year-old from Bristol, who found this out when she was locked out of her Facebook account."

    She should regard this as a positive thing.

  9. JamieL

    Sćüňţhorpe anyone?

    Often got round by those with malicious intent by using extended character sets.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Sćüňţhorpe anyone?

      Is that in Turkey?

  10. John Lilburne

    Change her name to ...

    ... Kali.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Facebook user

    please forward scans, copies of some of the most important and sought after documents in your possession, passport, driving license, etc to prove to a faceless entity that couldn't give a shit about your privacy that you are who you say you are, because that's so fucking important in weeding out nutters.

    Dear Facebook, GFY.

  12. tekHedd


    The problem would be reduced if we would just call them ISIL, but according to my mother that would prove we were all secret Muslim terrorist sympathizers like Obama, so I guess that's out.


    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: ISIL

      "Medieval Terror Bastards" or MTB ought to be the accepted term. As coined by the el Reg journos eg

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ISIL

        I would rather they be called ITIL Islamic Territories In Libya. Would put an end to job postings requiring certification in ITIL and a lot of meaningless conferences, imagine being asked the purpose of your journey at border control and replying, "I'm going to an ITIL conference".

  13. Anonymous C0ward

    Fix the Scunthorpe problem

    and people will just say "so-and-so is a complete Scunthorpe" instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fix the Scunthorpe problem

      I dont think ANYBODY deserves to be called a Scunthorpe!!! Although I understand someone called Bonking Boris called Oiky Gove it behind the bike sheds at St Cakes earlier this week.

      And finishes with an icon depicting T. May without her make-up on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fix the Scunthorpe problem

        It's obvious, just rename scunthorpe ... Stwathorpe, cunttown, vagville ...

        Right, what about penistone?

        1. Cameron Colley

          Re: Fix the Scunthorpe problem

          Apparently it could be rendered as Squainthorpe as "quaint" would seem to be another spelling of the same.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    My real name is Terry Wrist...

    ...and the problems I have online now... Well, you wouldn't believe it.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: My real name is Terry Wrist...

      ...and the problems I have online now... Well, you wouldn't believe it.

      There's probably this one weird trick that would solve them.

  15. Emperor Zarg

    When will this nonsense end?

    It's a good job there isn't a terrorist organisation called Frightful Alarming Cold-hearted Enraged Bastard Odious Oppressive Killers

    1. Anonymous Coward


      As title.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FACHEBOOK??

        Poshibly you should replashe your denturesh

  16. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge



    (although sNIGGER is probably blocked over here)

  17. Martin

    This one fooled me for a while...

    Tried to write a comment on a web site a couple of weeks ago - it was blocked. After a bit of messing around, I discovered the word "Saturday" had fallen foul of the filter. Saturday?

    Took me a while to identify sa - turd - ay....

    Not one I've ever come across before.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: This one fooled me for a while...

      In looking up specs of things I'd come across a fair few wiki style services that would say "[email protected]" all over the page.

      It took a few moments for me to realise that a stuff such as a display resolution of 1920x1080@30fps contains an @ so is being interpreted as an email address.


  18. Kurt Meyer


    "This article trips over at least two Facebook filters. Express your displeasure by hitting the Facebook Like button above."

    What facebook button?

    I don't see a facebook button. No Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Reddit, none of 'em.

    Am I missing something?

    1. Aqua Marina

      Re: Bootnote

      Top right of the page in the red bar.

      1. Vic

        Re: Bootnote

        Top right of the page in the red bar.

        Look up. Right up. If you squint, you might just about make out the joke...


      2. Kurt Meyer

        Re: Bootnote

        @ Aqua Marina

        From the top, left to right: Hi Kurt Meyer | Sign out | long space | Whitepapers | The Channel | The Next Platform.

        New line: Large red bar with "The Register" "Biting the hand that feeds IT. No buttons whatsoever.

        New line: Catagories - Datacenter | Software | and so on, and so on....

        No buttons, none, not one, nada, zilch, zip.

        No joke, and no buttons.

      3. Alumoi

        Re: Bootnote

        Top right of the page in the red bar.

        Hey, guys, we've found the one who's not using an adblocker on the interwebs!

  19. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Leaving Fenchurch Street Station in London, you have the choice of turning left to the Isis Lounge Bar or to the right to the Bavarian Beerhouse. Choices...

  20. CJ_C
    Thumb Up

    Shakespeare and the reverse Scunthorpe problem

    As many quizzers will know, Shakespeare was very rude and wished to refer to issues of lust, sex and womens bits. He used the term "country matters", which is an unexpected delight for teenagers.who study the texts in schools where the works have not been censored. Handle that with your porn filters!

  21. roosterdude

    Other names they don't allow...

    My other half has never been allowed to use her own surname "Gun" despite Facebook allowing her brothers and sisters to use it.. Numerous support requests we a blank so she had to go with "Gunn" in the end which apparently is more palatable :-s

  22. adminspotting

    Charles ****ens

    Yep, that's how one site rendered the author's name when I tried to mention him.

  23. Yugguy

    Yeah whatever

    Is she fit?

    Don't downvote me, you're ALL wondering it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I imagine no business in the famous village of Fucking in Austria can advertise on Facebook no matter how hard they try. If your name is Isis and run a apicultural business called Bee Heads, I guess your trouble is treble.

  25. myhandler

    Such a shame the Gods aren't real then mighty Isis could smite DaEsh by trampling it to oblivion.

    She, the blessed one, might need to get her son Horus to help, but she's already cursed them to hell.

    Funny those two religions grew up only a few hundred miles apart - both now supplanted by likes of Arsebook.

  26. zen1

    I just wanted to mention that Zuck is an idiot.

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      I'm sure he is very concerned about your opinion.

      In fact I'm sure he is crumpling a $100 bill right now to wipe away a tear after reading your comments.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps these people should think about changing their names?

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