Can you find the four-letter word in Scunthorpe? Facebook did

Technically Incorrect: The social network reportedly censors promoted posts featuring the English town's name.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

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

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Scunthorpe from the air on a rare lovely day.

Ocuair/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I've been to Scunthorpe.

It's a gritty place, where one of England's more famous soccer players -- Kevin Keegan -- began his career.

It was first notated in the Doomsday book of 1086, when it was called Escumesthorpe. This, as your Old Norse will tell you, means "Skuma's homestead."

I fancy Skuma might want to emit spittle while wielding a cudgel on hearing that Scunthorpe has apparently fallen foul of Facebook's beady-eyed censors.

According to the Independent, Facebook is stopping its members from promoting posts with the word "Scunthorpe" in them.

You may be perplexed. Let me help you. There are four consecutive letters in the name that seem to affect Facebook's internal systems. No, not "thor."

The issue came to light when indie band October Drift tried to promote their Scunthorpe concert on the site. Facebook's automatic thought police didn't get the drift. October Drift's transaction -- you have to pay to "boost" posts -- was denied, the band says.

It's not that the word "Scunthorpe" is completely banned. It's that it can't appear in promotional posts, the band says.

Facebook didn't immediately reply to a request for comment. Nor did it reply to the pleas of October Drift's Dan Young, he told the Independent. Facebook did, however, tell the Guardian that it's investigating.

Facebook's censors have always had peculiar proclivities. Its battle against the female breast has been long and painfully pointless. Perhaps its low-point was when the site censored a doll's nipples.

But this is what happens when billions of people allow their lives to be laid bare on one powerful site.

The site's machines enjoy exercising that power.

Still, you'd think Facebook would have a heart as well as a brain. Three years ago, Scunthorpe was voted the least romantic place in the UK.