Sunday, November 29, 2015

Phuc Dat Bich Name Hoax: Facebook’s Fault?

Even though this “name hoax” could not have gone viral but is Facebook to blame?

By: Ringo Bones 

Name hoaxes are not new and as history had told us they tend to get a life of their own – just like Thomas Nast’s Santa Claus. But in today’s fast-paced social media scene, can a social media platform, like Facebook, tend to inadvertently give name hoaxes a life of its own as it goes viral? 

A few days ago, an Australian man of Vietnamese descent who made global headlines after saying he was fighting to use his “real name” on Facebook, admits it was a hoax. The man had claimed Facebook would not allow his real name as could be considered offensive. But he later said on Facebook that his real name was “Joe Carr” (or perhaps Joker). He said what he started as a joke between friends “became a prank that made a fool out of the media.”  

But he said it also brought out the best in people and gave encouragement to people with “truly interesting and idiosyncratic names”. The hoaxer is of Vietnamese origin. His name was given as Phuc Dat Bich – which when properly pronounced in the Vietnamese language, which is a tonal language, it actually sounds like “Phoo Dah Bi”. At present, Facebook have not responded to the BBC and other news organization’s requests for comment. Not to mention most people's lack of knowledge of the Vietnamese language also plays a part.

Ever since Facebook started, it has been used as a platform for political satire criticizing how the Bush administration and other right-leaning conservative groups conduct their “War on Terror” and how they use religion and their almost unlimited monetary resources to ridicule environmentalist crying out their concerns on climate change and global warming. Such grassroots environmental and social justice movements managed to engender “idiosyncratic” accounts on Facebook like Jesus Hitler Christ, GOP Jesus, Climate Change Jesus, Global Warming Jesus, Crude Oil Jesus, White Supremacist Jesus, etc.