Is Yahoo Banning Allah?

Update Feb 2006 (8 months after this was written): Someone by the name of Callahan also complained, which made the papers, which got enough exposure to embarass yahoo, so allah has now been removed from the block list.


Hello, my name is Kallahar (well, it's an alias, but Kallahar really is a family name of an 1800's Irish family (Ancestry of William Kallahar, born 1830). I recently tried to create a user on Yahoo with my name.

Unfortunately, Yahoo said it was unavailable.

"That's odd" I thought, "maybe I created a user years ago and forgot about it." Thus I tried "kallahar2", then "kallahar3" then "kallahar385753984753". All of them came back as "unavailable".

I did some more research, and came up with the following interesting results. All of these were tested in the "test4allah408754873" format to ensure they weren't simply conflicting with an existing user.

Banned Words:

  • allah
  • binladen
  • osama
  • raghead
  • yahoo
  • security
  • admin
  • fuck
  • asshole
  • cunt
  • Allowed Words:

  • god
  • messiah
  • jesus
  • jehova
  • yahweh
  • savior
  • buddah
  • quran
  • koran
  • mohammad
  • islam
  • usama
  • nazi
  • satan
  • devil
  • jihad
  • terrorist
  • suicide
  • murder
  • kill
  • priest
  • pedophile
  • rape
  • sex
  • pussy
  • cock
  • penis
  • rapeismyhobby1
  • pedophilepriest88
  • killallmuslimsandarabs1
  • nazisaremybestfriends
  • jewskilledjesus999
  • iloveadolfhitler293409
  • wasapmahniggah8888
  • Obviously some of these words are legitimately banned, it's understandable that yahoo doesn't want fuckme@yahoo.com or anything like that. Similarly they don't want people impersonating administrators, security, yahoo, etc. However when they ban "allah" they also ban "theyareallaheadofme99".

    There is a valid profile at profiles.yahoo.com/kallahar2 which is my old profile (now disabled) with an update date of 1998. The Kallahar account lists 2000 as the last update date. So apparently allah wasn't banned until after 2000.

    Additionally, why are they banning allah but allowing god, jesus, and mohammad?


    Yahoo's Response

    Yahoo has a feedback page at http://docs.yahoo.com/info/support/contacts/, I submitted the following letter to both "Bug Reports" and "The Yahoo Experience" as well as Sign in and Registration Help on June 13, 2005.

    Hello, I am attempting to register my user "kallahar" on yahoo. However I keep running into an error, it says that the name is unavailable even if I choose something random like "kallahar4390859854". I've ran a few tests, and I think you're banning the following words: allah, binladen, osama, yahoo, security, admin, as well as many others. However the following were allowed: god, messiah, jesus, jehova, yahweh, savior, buddah, quran, koran, mohammad, satan, devil, jihad, terrorist, suicide, murder, kill, etc.

    Does yahoo have an official position that words with "allah" in them are not allowed to create users?

    Please respond ASAP,

    Kallahar

    Yahoo's Response

  • From "The Yahoo Experience": Contact "Sign in and Registration Help"
  • From "Sign in and Registration Help": Try these bullshit canned answers about lost passwords and other irrelevant stuff.
  • As of June 14 I have received no further responses.

    Update Feb 20, 2006

    Daily Hampshire Gazette

    Feb 17, 2006

    'Allah' in name foils email tag

    By SEAN REAGAN Staff Writer

    When Ashfield resident Linda Callahan signed up for a Verizon email account using her surname, she ran into weeks of technical difficulties.

    Kallahan, it turns out, contains within it the name "Allah," the name of God in the Islamic religion.

    Because of that, Callahan was told by Verizon management officials that she could not use it as part of her e-mail address.

    "'I was shocked," she said. "I think that nobody should be able to block that name."

    Verizon spokeswoman Bobbie Henson said that the problem arose because Callahan uses a Yahoo portal. Verizon customers can choose between three portals - Yahoo, MSN or Verizon's own portal.

    Portals are Web sites that offer a broad array of Internet resources and services, including email, chat forums, search engines, weather and online shopping stores.

    Because Verizon is partnered with Yahoo, said Henson, Verizon customers are subjected to Yahoo's name filters, which apparently include the name "Allah."

    Henson said that Verizon "had no idea this was an issue" when the company joined forces with Yahoo earlier this year. "Allah," she said, has never been a filtered name at Verizon and there are customers whose email addresses include "Callahan."

    "This is not our list," she said.

    Henson said Verizon officials plan to talk with their Yahoo counterparts about the issue.

    Yahoo spokeswoman Meghan Busatch did not dispute Verizon's account. However, in telephone conversations on both Wednesday and Thursday, she said she was unable to provide additional information and asked for more time to prepare a response.

    Matt Crocker, vice president of Greenfield-based Crocker Communications, said that the local telecommunications company does not apply name or content filters to its customers.

    While some addresses - such as "postmaster" or "abuse" - are reserved for internal use, customers can utilize any name they choose, so long as no other customer is not already using it.

    "We made a decision as a company that we're not going to censor or filter our customers that way," said Crocker. For her part, Callahan said she is wary of any company that wants to forbid the use of the word "Allah."

    "I wouldn't want to support a company that has rules like that," she said. "It doesn't help anybody in our world right now."

    Sean Reagan can be reached at sreagan@gazettenet.com.

    Thanks to Arken, coug, and the rest of #atheism for contributing to this research.

  •   kallahar.com Home Page - kallahar@kallahar.com - Hosted by DreamHost