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Woman legally changes name to silly Facebook name to get back on Facebook

Technically Incorrect: So Jemma Rogers wanted to be called Jemmaroid Von Laalaa on Facebook. Then Facebook shut her out. So she changed her name legally.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


jemmaroid.jpg
Try claiming that name on a dating site. Ivelisse Apyl/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I'm sure there was a time when people thought Facebook was fun.

Now it's the worldwide DMV.

It has rules, regulations and faceless apparatchiks who make decisions based on some politburo's discussion documents.

Jemmaroid Von LaaLaa is suffering. Yes, I'll get it over with. Jemmaroids can be painful. Happy now?

As the Telegraph reports, Jemma Rogers signed up for Facebook in 2008. She didn't want those who'd known her in the past to suddenly pester her with faux greetings. So she used a silly name. (Actually, I quite like the name.)

For many years, all went well. Last month, though, she says a pair of Facebook eyes fell upon her moniker. They didn't like what they saw.

They demanded she prove she was a Jemmaroid. At this point, Jemmaroid might have come clean. Instead, she turned to Photoshop and mimicked a bank card or two. Some might find this a little Laa-Laa of her, but still.

Her account was locked. She came clean about her relatively dull real name, she says, but still Facebook wouldn't relent. She was thrust into purgatory. So what to do? She changed her name legally to Jemmaroid von LaaLaa.

Hah. Take that, Facebook.

Well, no. She wasn't, she says, immediately let back in.

LaaLaa, a holistic therapist from London, told the Telegraph: "I know I've been a completely moron, but Facebook are being ridiculous. I've been locked out of my account for five weeks now and have lost all of my photos, messages and precious memories."

I'm not sure she's been a moron at all. There's something quaint about an organization that claims to be for the people and by the people telling people what they're allowed to call themselves.

A Facebook spokesman told me: "Facebook asks people to use their authentic names, as we believe this makes people more accountable for what they say. In this instance, we made a mistake, but we reactivated the account last week. We apologize for any inconvenience that this caused."

Is having to change your name to something silly an inconvenience? Or is it nearer modern insanity? And does Facebook care about authenticity? Or is it more interested in making sure ads get to the right people?

I understand that more than one famous person -- including some tech CEOs -- are on Facebook under false names.

Perhaps Rogers attracted attention because the name she chose was a touch outre. Had she decided to be Janine Flowers, the thought police might never have noticed. And it surely wasn't wise to try and fake documents.

How odd, though, that Facebook acts just like a government organization in demanding to see legal documents at all.

It's just Facebook, after all.