Local teenager Gypsy Robinson with her mother, Hazel
Political correctness has gone too far if Facebook is willing to remove the profile of a teenage girl simply because her first name doesn't suit them.
Those are the views of local mother Hazel Robinson, whose daughter, Gypsy, has been in a constant struggle with Facebook following the removal of her personal profile almost two years ago.
“In modern times, the word ‘gypsy’ has a lot of different meanings. It can describe an ethnic group. It can mean ‘little egyptian’. And now it’s used often enough as a name,” Hazel Robinson told the Leader.
“I first heard the name Gypsy Ann on Home & Away years ago and I thought it was beautiful.”
Facebook, on the other hand, saw it as a racial slur and removed the teenager's Facebook profile, giving her no access and no response when she provided her passport as proof that Gypsy is, in fact, her name.
“Gypsy would be well known because she’s been in the public eye a lot fighting for herself and fighting for her illness,” Hazel explained, referring to her daughter's Cystic Fibrosis.
“Her original Facebook page has carried years of memories. It’s been like a diary to her and it’s had all our trips together, our little inside jokes, everything from her own perspective and now that’s all gone.
“Other people who have lost loved ones can look back on Facebook memories with them and it’s so comforting to them and so valuable. We’ve lost all that now.
“One of her best friends from the ward passed away recently at the age of 16. And as a mother of a child with cystic fibrosis, obviously you’re going to think about that,” she said.
“These moments mean extra to you because you don’t know how many you have left. And that’s all gone now. We’re really sad that we’ve lost it. And it’s even more sad that she reached out and got no reply from Facebook.”
Gypsy had her Facebook profile for a number of years before it was removed, giving her plenty of time to build up a vast collection of memories and photographs with her friends and family.
After her profile was removed, she set up a new one under her own name but that was removed too.
The Longford teen has since been told that if she uses her middle name, Ann, she can keep her profile.
But her name isn't Ann and Hazel feels like her daughter should be entitled to use her own identity on social media, just like everyone else.
“It’s just outrageous that they told a teenage girl that her name is a racial slur and that they’ve deleted it because it doesn’t suit them. But if she uses this fake name, she can keep her account,” she fumed.
“She’s shown them her passport. They’ve said it’s against their community standards, but what about My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding or the Gypsy Sisters on TLC? Would They take stuff about those shows down? Probably not.”
Hazel has vowed to take action against Facebook if they continue to stop Gypsy from using her own name on social media.
So far, the family have received no response from the social media giant but Hazel said she will keep fighting with Facebook in the hope of having her daughter's account restored.
“Her old account is gone for nearly two years now and we can’t get a response from Facebook. We can’t even get a human to talk to us. It’s all automated. And because it’s such a huge company, you would think there’d be some sort of steps to take to get talking to someone.
“What gives Facebook the right to tell a teenager that their name isn’t right? It’s an example of political correctness going crazy. What is it coming to? It’s political correctness gone too far. What’s next? Will she have to legally change her name?
“If Gypsy is good enough for her passport, her bank account and everything else, why isn’t it good enough for Facebook?”