Facebook Shuts Down Pro-Populist Italian Pages Before EU Electionsby THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.
May. 13, 2019
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Facebook has shut down 23 major populist Italian pages with 2.5 million followers just two weeks before the European elections.
According to Italian media, the majority of the pages supported the populist parties La Lega (The League) and the 5-Star Movement (M5S) — who currently govern Italy in a temporary coalition.
Facebook has justified its dramatic move by claiming that the sites shared fake news, so-called “hate speech”, and “divisive content” regarding immigrants, vaccines, and Jewish people.
Facebook used information from a report produced by a left-progressive NGO called Avaaz, which deals with “human rights” and environmental campaigns.
[...] Among the closed pages are “We want the 5-star Movement in government”, which had 129,000 followers and almost 700,000 interactions in three months, “Beppe Grillo for President”, “Lega Salvini Sulmona” — which had 307,000 followers” — “Lega Salvini Premier Santa Teresa of Riva”, and “We Are 5 Stars.”
The most active page in support of the Lega party was among those closed, just as polls are showing that the Lega is currently the party with the most support among Italians for the upcoming elections.