Social media giant Facebook has faced its share of controversy over its "real-name system." In an effort to ensure that "you always know who you’re connecting with," the website suspends accounts it deems to be fake.
Critics argue that this has an adverse effect on minorities whose names may not be recognized by Facebook’s algorithm. Never has this conflict been more clearly illustrated than in the case of Phuc Dat Bich.
An Australian of Vietnamese origin, Mr. Bich’s name is pronounced, phonetically, like "Phoo Da Bi." But last January, Facebook mistook his name for an offensive misspelling and shut down his account. Frustrated and desperate to prove his identity, Mr. Bich posted a photo of his passport.
"I find it highly irritating the fact that nobody seems to believe me when I say that my full legal name is how you see it," he wrote. "I’ve been accused of using a false and misleading name of which I find very offensive. Is it because I’m Asian? Is it?"
That post, signed "Yours sincerely, Phuc Dat Bich," went viral last week, and thousands of users expressed solidarity with Mr. Bich.
In a new post, he says he is "honoured to be able to make people happy."
"We live in a diverse and multicultural society and the fact that there are people out there who are supportive and encouraging really makes me happy," he wrote.
"I’ve never ranted nor wept that my post would get this sort of exposure. But I am glad and honored to be able to make people happy by simply making them laugh at something that appears outrageous and ridiculous."
Facebook has provided no comment at this time.