Against a man who lived through a fatwa and a marriage with Padma Lakshmi, how could Mark Zuckerberg stand a chance? Everybody rest easy; thanks to a Twitter storm, Salman Rushdie has stood his ground and defeated Facebook. The whole thing started when, two days ago, Facebook decided to cancel Rushdie's account because they didn't believe it was actually him. Then, after he sent them a copy of his passport (!), they reinstated the account, "but insisted I use the name Ahmed which appears before Salman on my passport and which I have never used." At which point Rushdie began tweeting.
And if there is one thing you don't want to be on the wrong side of, it is an angry world-famous erudite holding a grudge on a social network. To start, here's what Rushdie reportedly wrote on his Facebook wall:
Facebook deactivated my account because they thought I wasn’t me. Now they insist I call myself by the first name I have never used. What a bunch of morons… As I don’t and will never recognize myself as ‘Ahmed Rushdie’ I will be reducing FB activities to just about zero and cutting back my list of friends to actual friends or at least acquaintances, just to keep in touch. I’m done." - Ahmed Rushdie née Salman Rushdie
Sounds like the author of Fury is a little angry, no? He continued his tirade on Twitter, trying to call out Mark Zuckerberg while complaining about how hard it is to get somebody at Facebook to respond. This is where it helps to be a world famous author when getting into this kind of spat. While most of us would have been happy to turn the whole thing into a game about other celebrity #MiddleNameUsers (sure, it would be funny if F. Scott Fitzgerald had been a Facebook user forced to go by Francis Fitzgerald), people actually pay attention to Rushdie. Which is to say, Facebook noticed all the hate, quickly restored Rushdie's personal page and even apologized.
Update: And here's Facebook's official statement on the matter: "This action was taken in error, and Mr. Rushdie's account has been reactivated with the correct name. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."