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Facebook shuts down Italian neo-fascist parties' accounts

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Facebook shuts down Italian neo-fascist parties' accounts
Members of Italian far-right political movement "Forza Nuova" at a demonstration in 2017. Photo: AFP
11:03 CEST+02:00
The official accounts of dozens of Italian far-right activists and the neo-fascist parties CasaPound and Forza Nuova were shut down on Monday for violating hate speech policies.

The parties have also been kicked off Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

"People and organizations that spread hatred or attack others based on who they are, have no place on Facebook and Instagram," Facebook said in a statement.

Rome-based CasaPound’s official Facebook page had almost 240,000 followers.

The Facebook and Instagram accounts of dozens of activists belonging to both far-right groups were also reportedly blocked.

 

CasaPound's Facebook page is history. Screenshot: Facebook

It’s not the first time the two groups have had accounts closed down, Italian news agency Ansa reports. Last April, shortly before the European elections, Facebook closed down the profiles of several high-profile members of both movements.

Both groups' Twitter accounts remain active.

The parties' chiefs - who also had their personal accounts shut – slammed the move as anti-democratic.

Gianluca Iannone, president of CasaPound, protested that the move was "an unprecedented attack", telling Ansa the group would be filing an "urgent class action law suit against an act of disgraceful prevarication."

The move was hailed as “exemplary” and “a correct and courageous choice” by the leader of Italy’s Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti.

“We must share and spread these important words to put an end to the season of hatred,” he told local media. “These are people who would deny others the right to exist.”

"Apology for fascism in Italy is not an opinion. It is a crime."

On Monday, activists from both groups took part in a demonstration, alongside the League and Brothers of Italy, against the new left-leaning and pro-European government

In front of parliament, where Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was giving a speech, they could be heard chanting "Duce! Duce!" - the title fascists used to address 20th-century dictator Benito Mussolini – and were seen performing the fascist salute.

Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday called on the political class and Italian citizens to
moderate their tone - particularly on social networks - following 14 months of a populist government which has fomented hate and division, particularly via the internet.

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