Facebook draws flak over blocking users with Chutia surname

Published Date
13 - Mar - 2012
| Last Updated
13 - Mar - 2012
 
Facebook draws flak over blocking users with Chutia surname

Controversies have continued to chase Facebook. The Social Networking site, already facing civil lawsuit over objectionable content issue, has come under heavy criticism for blocking “thousands” of accounts in India for using the word “chutia". The word “chutia” is a commonly-used derogatory term in Hindi, but it is also a surname (pronounced as sutiya) used by a community in the Indian state of Assam. The All Assam Chutia Students' Union (AACSU) has raised serious concerns over the issue and has sought public apology from the social networking giant.

Facebook believes that accounts with that word are fake and fabricated. The AACSU, however, argues it is a big misunderstanding, as Chutia is an ethnic tribe of Assam, with a long rich historical background in the state history. While talking to the media, AACSU general secretary Jyotiprasad Chutia said that they were unhappy with the authority concerned as they didn't verify accounts before blocking. He went on to say that the move to block their accounts could be a well-thought conspiracy against their community. “They even failed to verify the truth when they blocked the accounts of some prominent personalities and popular artists like Krishnamoni Chutia, who belongs to our community,” adds Jyotiprasad.

It's notable that social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebok and Google insist on users using their real names on their profiles. However, Google recently modified its names policy, allowing users to post their nicknames on their profiles. It also allowed maiden names and names in non-Latin script.

Facebook and other social networking sites are flooded with fake accounts. However, these sites allow users to block/report such fabricated accounts. Facebook's move to block “Chutia” word may be seen as a step towards monitoring the “offensive content”. But in a country like India where there are many languages and dialects spoken, taking any similar move in haste could be counterproductive.

Do you also believe Facebook didn't research enough before blocking the term? Or, you will like to give Facebook benefit of doubt, considering the large diversity in the country.

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