Facebook removes fake Italian accounts ahead of European Union election

Last Updated: May 13 2019 19:46
Reading time: 0 mins, 57 secs

MILAN- On Sunday, Facebook said that it had removed numerous Italian accounts on its platform that were false or were spreading fake news ahead of a European parliamentary election later this month. 

The European Union has warned of foreign interference in campaigning for the vote of May 23-26, and in April the European Commission urged Google, Facebook and Twitter to do more to tackle fake news before the poll.

"We have removed a series of false and duplicated accounts which violated our authenticity policy, as well as several pages due to violation of rules on name changing," a spokesman for Facebook in Italy said in an emailed statement.

"We also took action against some pages that repeatedly spread incorrect information," he said, adding that an investigation by online activist group Avaaz had prompted the decision. 

On Sunday, Avaaz said that Facebook had taken down 23 Italian accounts with a total of more than 2.46 million followers which were spreading "false information and divisive content" over issues such as migration and vaccines as well as anti-Semitism.

"We`re committed to protecting the integrity of elections within the European Union and in the whole world," the Facebook spokesman said.