Facebook Gags Italian Populists Two Weeks Before EU Elections
Facebook has banned 23 major Italian pro-populist pages with a combined 2.5 million followers two weeks before the European elections, according to Italy’s La Stampa.
The majority of the bans were for supporters of the current coalition government; La Lega (The League), headed by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and the 5-star movement, M5S, led by Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio. Among them, the most popular Facebook page for La Lega was taken down, right as polls reveal massive support for the party.
Facebook claims that the sites were spreading fake news, “hate speech,” and “divisive content” about immigrants, vaccines and Jews, after left-wing “human rights” and environmentalist non-government organization (NGO) Avaaz issued a report on “inauthentic behavior” over Italian Facebook networks.
“We thank Avaaz for sharing its research so we could investigate,” said a Facebook spokesoperson. “We are committed to protecting the integrity of the EU elections and around the world. We have removed a series of false and duplicate accounts that violated our policies on the subject of authenticity, as well as several pages for violation of the policy on changing the name.”
Avaaz er en frontgruppe for George Soros.