Special Reports

Facebook apologises for declaring young Muslim activist dead, reinstates account after legal notice


New Delhi (20 Oct 2020): A young Delhi-based social activist Mohd Abuzar woke up with various phone calls from friends and relatives on 13th of September, 2020. And to his utter shock he came to know that the Facebook had declared him dead and asked its users to pay their tributes.

Facebook had converted his account (https://www.facebook.com/abuzar.choudhary) into a "Memorialized Accounts" or a "Legacy account and it put a message which read "We hope that people who love Mohd [Abuzar] will find comfort in visiting his profile." Memorialized accounts are a way for people on Facebook to remember and celebrate those who've passed away.

Abuzar attempted at his best to restore his account by following the procedure prescribed by the Facebook, he uploaded asked Identity proof and all other information sought by Facebook, however Facebook did not respond to his requests.

Further, many of his friends and relatives used Twitter to tag Facebook and draw their attention to the error. The Milli Gazette had also tweeted about it. But Facebook remained adamant and didn’t respond. Finding no positive response from the Facebook, Abuzar sent a legal notice through his counsel A. A. Chaus, Advocate on 19 Oct 2020 (yesterday).

Abuzar called upon Facebook through the said legal notice to restore his account, to tender an unconditional apology and a compensation of Rs. 5,00,000/- for the mental trauma and torture caused due to the said misinformation.

Advocate Chaus informed The Milli Gazette that today (20 Oct 2020) afternoon, just a day after the legal notice was sent, Abuzar received an apology email from Facebook and his account was restored; the said email, “I sincerely apologize for this issue and the inconvenience it caused. I’ve gone ahead and placed a note on your account to help make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

However, Abuzar says the mere restoration of account by Facebook is not sufficient as the termination was malafide and without authority of law and has caused severe damage to his health and reputation and therefore he would prefer recourse in accordance with law.

Abuzar claims that the Facebook does not have any transparent functioning or organisational structure or grievance redressal mechanism and therefore a transparent mechanism is urgently required to ensure that the social networking site Facebook does not abuse its might and monopoly to traumatise its users.