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Facebook shuts down Italian neo-fascist parties’ accounts

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.

Facebook shuts down Italian neo-fascist parties' accounts
Members of Italian far-right political movement "Forza Nuova" at a demonstration in 2017. Photo: AFP

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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POLITICS

Italy’s Meloni in Libya to discuss energy, migration

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrived Saturday in the Libyan capital Tripoli for talks on energy as well as the thorny issue of migration, Libyan state media said.

Italy's Meloni in Libya to discuss energy, migration

Meloni’s trip — her second to a North African country this week — is the first by a European leader to war-battered Libya since her predecessor Mario Draghi’s visit in April 2021.

State television said the Italian premier was received by Abdelhamid Dbeibah, who heads the Tripoli-based, UN brokered Government of National Unity which is contested by a rival administration in the east.

Libya and its former colonial power Italy are key trade partners, particularly in energy, where Italian giant Eni plays a major role in tapping into Africa’s largest known oil reserves.

Meloni was accompanied by Eni chief Claudio Descalzi, who is expected to sign a deal with Libya’s National Oil Company to develop two Libyan offshore gas fields.

Eni will invest $8 million in the two fields, NOC chief Farhat Bengdara said in televised remarks this week, adding they are expected to produce 850 million cubic metres of gas.

Meloni visited Algeria on Monday seeking supply deals from Africa’s top gas exporter to help reduce reliance on Russia after it invaded Ukraine last year.

During her trip to Libya, she is also expected to discuss the issue of migration amid rising numbers of irregular migrants from Libya to Italy.

Libya has been wracked by years of conflict and division since a NATO-backed revolt toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The country is a conduit for thousands of people each year fleeing conflict and poverty across Africa, seeking refuge across the Mediterranean in Europe.

Meloni’s far-right government took office in October, vowing to stop migrant landings in Italy, which reached more than 105,000 in 2022.

The central Mediterranean route is considered the world’s most treacherous, according to the International Organization for Migration, which estimated that 1,377 migrants had disappeared on that route last year.

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