Outrage over Lampedusa Facebook page

A "racist" Facebook page directed at the hundreds of migrants who lost their lives off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa last week has sparked outrage in Italy. The page has now been removed.

Outrage over Lampedusa Facebook page
So far, 232 asylum-seekers have been confirmed dead after the shipwreck last week. Photo: AFP

Facebook has finally removed an offensive page directed at the hundreds of migrants who died last week off the Italian island of Lampedusa, it was reported earlier this week.

Originally published under the name: ‘Carnage in Lampedusa, 130 less black mouths to feed’, the title of the page was later changed to the more ambiguous title of: 'Lampedusa, middle-earth. Let’s expropriate it from the people of Lampedusa.'

But the change of name was only to mask the page's racist content, according to La Repubblica.

In one comment cited by the paper, a user writes: “No, come on folks, no comment. We have less [mouths] to feed, so fuck you!”

The page also contained comments aimed at the island’s residents.

“Have we ever asked ourselves why Lampedusa is so dirty, overflowing with sick and impoverished people? We blame Africans too easily! The truth is that the inhabitants themselves of the place are backward and unhygienic,” wrote another Facebook user.

Probably as a result of the ambiguous name, Facebook did not immediately remove the page, the paper said, claiming that it did not violate its standards, despite complaints from Italian Facebook users about the offensive content of the page. 

However, on Monday it was reported that the page had been removed.

“After proper internal checks and complaints from users, Facebook has removed the page because of its racist content that incites hate,” the social networking site said in a statement published in the paper.

So far, 232 asylum-seekers have been confirmed dead after the shipwreck last week. Between 450 and 500 were reported to have been on board when the boat caught fire and sunk.

On Wednesday it was announced that Italy will hold a state funeral for the victims of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta were heckled by activists and local residents with shouts of "Disgrace!" and "Killers!" as they arrived on the island on Wednesday.

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