The Italian neo-fascist groups Forza Nuova (FN) and CasaPound said Wednesday they will file lawsuits against Facebook and Instagram.
The groups are protesting last week’s closure of their social media accounts due to hate-speech. The two groups profile is no longer accessible, along with that of national, local, and provincial chiefs across Italy.
According to the leader of FN, Roberto Fiore, the group’s legal team is putting together class action lawsuit, making the case against the two social media platforms on the grounds of defamation and an assault to freedom of expression, on behalf of thousands of users whose accounts were blocked.
CasaPound’s National President Gianluca Iannone is joining the initiative. Both CasaPound and FN have often made headlines as defenders of the Fascist tradition.
Casapound had 250,000 followers on Facebook, while its leader Di Stefano had 140,000 followers. Its members recently used the fascist salute during a demonstration demanding snap elections.
In a statement to Italy’s public news agency ANSA, a Facebook spokesperson reiterated the platforms’ policy of barring groups that “spread hatred or attack others on the basis of who they are.” Facebook analyses conversations and deletes content by using criteria that are not published so as to prevent hate groups from circumventing the system.
Former lower house speaker and PD MP Laura Boldrini hailed Facebook’s decision as a step “towards the end of an organized season of hatred on social networks,” Reuters reports.