Over the weekend, a story emerged about a woman, and small town in Ireland, and some odd Facebook censorship. Ann Marie Kennedy is incensed that Facebook will not allow her to list her hometown as Effin, Ireland.
No, she isn’t trying to make a joke, as in “I’m from f*cking Ireland.” She’s referring to Effin, Ireland, a civil parish in County Limerick, Ireland. Kennedy says that she can list her hometown as County Limerick, but Facebook will not allow her to put “Effin.”
Has Facebook banned the word “Effin,” because it’s a slang contraction of “f*cking?”
According to the reports, Kennedy set up a page called “Please get my hometown Effin recognized,” which was promptly removed. There was speculation as to whether this was a manual or automatic deletion – but either way, she was pissed –
I would like to be able to put Effin down on my own profile page and so would many other people around the world who proudly say that they are from Effin – but it wouldn’t recognise that. It keeps coming up as Effingham, Illinois; Effingham, New Hampshire; and it gives suggestions of other places. It will recognise Limerick but I’m not from Limerick city, I’m from Effin. I’m a proud Effin woman. And I always will be an Effin woman.
All jokes about her being an “effin woman” aside, it’s clear that there’s a problem when it comes to Facebook and Effin. Right now, if I try to list my hometown as Effin, Kennedy’s observations hold true. It suggests places like Effingham, but no Effin, Ireland.
Does Facebook have a ban on the word Effin, as so many folks over the weekend have suggested?
The simple answer is no, probably not. Facebook has responded, saying –
From time to time we are alerted to oversights such as this in our mapping system. We will look to correct it to ensure places like Effin can be ‘liked’ on Facebook.
According to Facebook, it’s simply a problem of omission. Effin, Ireland is not an option because someone has failed to make it so. It has nothing to do with some incredible Facebook aversion to profanity. I tend to believe their explanation, and here’s why:
First, the word Effin (used in the f*cking substitute context) is all over pages.
And for that matter, so is “f*cking.”
And there are plenty of locations around the world that are just as if not more risque than “Effin” that Facebook allows users to put as their hometown. Just a few:
It’s tempting to think sinister thoughts about Facebook’s motivations, but sometimes an oversight is just an oversight.