Facebook and Instagram have closed the official accounts of the Italian neo-fascist CasaPound party and the profiles of dozens of far-right activists.
The party had almost 240.000 Facebook followers. “This is an unprecedented attack. We are disgusted, ”said the president of Casapound, Gianluca Iannone. “We will take urgent collective action against an act of shameful malfeasance.”
A Facebook spokesman told Italian news agency Ansa: “People or organizations that spread hate or attack other people based on who they are will not have a place on Facebook and Instagram. The accounts we removed today violate this policy and will no longer be present on Facebook or Instagram. "
This is not the first time Facebook has taken action against CasaPound. Last April, CasaPound activists and other far-right Italian politicians, including Benito Mussolini's great-grandson, accused Facebook of discrimination after their accounts were suspended.
CasaPound was founded in the late 90 as a pro-Mussolini beverage club. Named after twentieth-century American poet Ezra Pound, known for his fascist sympathies and anti-Semitism, he claims to support a democratic variant of fascism, but is accused of encouraging violence and racism.
In an interview with 2011, party secretary Simone Di Stefano described Mussolini's fascism as "our point of reference, a view of state and economy and the concept of sacrifice." Di Stefano ran for prime minister in the last general elections.
On Monday, CasaPound members took part in a rally in Rome against the new Italian government, an alliance between the center-left Democratic party and the five-star anti-establishment movement. Some protesters gave fascist greetings and sang choirs praising Mussolini.