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12/02/2011

Note to Facebook: Irish resident wants her Effin town back

Is the name of your hometown too explicit to mention? Poor Anne-Marie Kennedy of Effin in County Limerick, Ireland, found that Facebook had wiped her village off the map, because it deemed the name too offensive.

Anne-Marie had been trying to insert the village name into the ‘home’ portion of her Facebook profile page, but it refused to accept it. It came up with alternative suggestions, such as Effingham, Illinois, or Effingham, New Hampshire. But Effin apparently sounds too much like the F-bomb to warrant inclusion.

It's a funny story, but it also highlights some of technology's failings. Internet filtering software, designed to stop people in schools and libraries surfing where they shouldn't, can also create problems for people trying to visit legitimate places. In the past, Internet filtering software has blocked terms such as Bikini (which is a real drag for kids trying to research the atomic testing at Bikini Atoll, for example), along with references to that wholesome Canadian mascot, the beaver.

That's the problem with technology. Technocrats sometimes tend to think that the whole world works the way they do. They can impose their views on others through tools such as these, which means that legitimate cases get caught in the net.

And, unfortunately, the UK and Ireland are so full of silly place names, that it's a wonder the two countries haven't been blocked from the Internet entirely. I pity the poor people who live in places such as Sandy Balls (Dorset), Bell End (Worcestershire), Fanny Hands Lane (Lincolnshire), Lickfold, and the wonderfully named Cocks, in Cornwall. 

Do you live in a place with a funny name? Has it caused you any problems?

Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets

 

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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