Google and Twitter blocked an artist for sharing a name with Meghan Trainor

If you’re unfortunate enough to share your name with a famous figure, the stick you get from friends may not be the only thing you have to contend with. Gizmodo has covered the interesting case of artist Meghan Trainor, who was briefly banned from Twitter and Gmail for being suspected of impersonating her more famous namesake – the artist Meghan Trainor.

To avoid (more) confusion, I’ll refer to the latter as “Trainor the pop star” from now on. Trainor the pop star found fame in June 2014 with the hit single “All About That Bass”, seven months after Trainor the artist set up her YouTube channel.

Despite that, Google suspended Trainor the artist due to an impersonation complaint. Google went first, with the boilerplate suspension notice captured on her Instagram (which remained open throughout the ordeal) below. When she tried to draw awareness of the mistake by tweeting, Twitter promptly followed suit, blocking her on the same spurious grounds.

As a freelance artist, being locked out of her Google account was a fairly serious ordeal for Trainor the artist, who had no access to her files on Google Drive or the ability to communicate with clients via Gmail. “The level of unforeseen interruption into my basic ability to work and function was mind-boggling,” she told Gizmodo. “I am not naive to digital space but the degree to which that happened, and I had no recourse, the swiftness of it is terrifying to me truly.”

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Her Google, Twitter and YouTube accounts are back online now, but likely only because of the support her story generated. Asked for comment, YouTube issued the following statement to Gizmodo: “With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make mistakes. When an error is brought to our attention we act quickly to reinstate the videos or channels in question.”

But the notice clearly said that Trainor’s case had been “reviewed.” Given there’s little chance of getting the two Megans confused with anything beyond the most cursory of glances, serious questions have to be asked about the thoroughness of said  review process – and the ability of less high-profile victims to have the mistakes rectified.

Do you share a celebrity’s name, and has it caused you problems online? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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