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Facebook ban for 'fake' Kate Middletons

By Bryony Jones, CNN
The 'real' Kate Middleton is set to marry Britain's Prince William in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on April 29.
The 'real' Kate Middleton is set to marry Britain's Prince William in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on April 29.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kate Middletons worldwide blocked from Facebook because of their names
  • Social networking site says fake names, aliases and impersonation not allowed
  • "Other" Kate Middleton set to marry Prince William on April 29

London -- Several Facebook users have had their profiles deleted from the social networking site because they share their name with a soon-to-be princess.

Kate Middleton, 33, from Melbourne, Australia, had her account shut down last week, after Facebook suspected her of pretending to be the fiancée of Britain's Prince William.

"I thought I had misspelled my password but it kept locking me out. Then I noticed it said I was 'using a fake name,' she told CNN.

"If they had taken the time to look at my profile they would see I'm not trying to impersonate anyone, I'm just being me."

Middleton's namesake is set to marry Prince William at London's Westminster Abbey on April 29.

"I was quite cross," said the Melbourne Middleton, who had just taken part in a 'princess bride' photo-shoot for local paper the Herald Sun when the ban came into force.

If they had taken the time to look at my profile they would see I'm not trying to impersonate anyone, I'm just being me
--Kate Middleton
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"They said in order to reactivate my account I had to type in my real name and email address -- being that this is the only name I've had for 33 years, I typed it in.

"It made me feel like if you have the same name as someone famous -- even if you've had the name longer -- you are not validated as a person without their say so."

Middleton said she tried telling the company that they had made a mistake, and even created a second account using her middle name, before her page was eventually reinstated on Tuesday.

She has now set up a Facebook group for other users hit by the ban.

Another Kate Middleton, 29, a helpdesk administrator from Northamptonshire, England, told UK media her account was closed down without warning last week.

"On Thursday I was logged in as usual all day, then I went out in the evening with friends and got a call from partner saying he couldn't see me on there any more," she told the Northants Evening Telegraph.

"I thought nothing of it but later that evening I came home and tried to log in but got an error message that said it had been disabled. They should have got in touch with me first, asked me to... prove who I was," she added.

Helpdesk worker Middleton said the ban had hampered attempts to plan her 30th birthday party, and left her distraught she may have lost family photographs stored on the site.

She said the Facebook problem was not the first time her name had provoked a reaction.

"Understandably, the news of the royal engagement caused quite a stir and along with that a few jibes and elbow digging was sent my way" she told the newspaper. "I laughed along and shrugged it off."

And Kate Middleton from Kent, in southern England, told the BBC she was shocked to discover her account had been disabled because of her name.

A spokeswoman for Facebook told CNN it did not allow fake names or aliases, and that users were banned from impersonating others on the site.

"We review thousands of pieces of content every day and take action to ensure Facebook remains a safe and trusted environment for everyone.

"Of course, we make an occasional mistake. This is an example. When this happens, and it's brought to our attention, we work quickly to resolve the issue."

There are dozens of genuine Kate Middletons on Facebook, alongside pages about the Prince's fiancée and their impending wedding.

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