Facebook has banned the name of an Irish town, labelling it as “offensive”, which raises questions over whether or not profanity filters are causing more problems than they solve.
Facebook has banned the name of an Irish town, labeling it as “offensive”, which raises questions over whether or not profanity filters are causing more problems than they solve.
The town, Effin, bears the same spelling as a common alternative to using a certain “F” word, but it is actually a real place in County Limerick in Ireland that has existed for hundreds of years.
In fact, the name comes from the Irish pronunciation of Saint Eimhin, a Bishop from early Irish Christian history.
A University of Limerick employee, Ann Marie Kennedy, has been campaigning to get her home town recognised by the social network, because so far it will not let her enter it onto her profile.
Facebook is also censoring her attempts to raise awareness about the issue, as it refused to create the “Please get my hometown Effin recognised” page, telling her that it was “offensive”. Perhaps what is more offensive is Facebook's insistence that a genuine name is in some way profane.
There are many unusual place names around the world, some of which mean different things in different languages. While Facebook is obviously trying to avoid people using swear words on its website, the process can be taken so far that it becomes more of an obstacle than an asset.
What is particularly ironic about this incident is that Facebook's European headquarters is in Ireland and has been since 2008, but we suppose it has yet to get used to the weird and wonderful names for certain parts of the Emerald Isle.
All we can say about this incident is: what an Effin joke.