After Facebook blocked neo-fascist group's account for hate speech, Italian judge orders to reopen it

The court said Facebook would be fined €800 for each day of violation of the judicial order.


An Italian judge on Thursday upheld an appeal by far-right group Casapound against a decision by Facebook to close its account, deeming that the move by the social media company prevented political pluralism.

Facebook blocked Casapound's account in September, saying it had violated the platform's policy against spreading hate.

Casapound espouses neo-fascist ideology and has boosted its profile in Italy by leading anti-migrant campaigns on social media. Its Facebook page had some 250,000 followers.

 After Facebook blocked neo-fascist groups account for hate speech, Italian judge orders to reopen it

Facebook blocked Casapound's account in September, saying it had violated the platform's policy against spreading hate. Image: Reuters

"The exclusion of the applicants from Facebook is in contrast with the right to pluralism... eliminating or strongly compressing the possibility for association... to express its political messages," said the court ruling seen by Reuters.

It ordered the "immediate" reopening of the Facebook account and ruled that the social network had to repay €15,000 ($16,500) in legal fees to Casapound.

The ruling made no reference to the photo and video sharing platform Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and had also been blocked.

"Magistrates order Facebook to reopen our pages, citing the constitution and stating that Casapound has the right to exist and to communicate on social media," Casapound's leader, Simone Di Stefano, wrote on Twitter.

(Also read: Facebook corrects user's post under pressure as Singapore government calls it fake news)

A Facebook spokesman said the company was "examining" the ruling, without making further comment.

The court said Facebook would be fined €800 for each day of violation of the judicial order. At 1745 GMT, Casapound's account was still blocked.

In September, Facebook took the same decision against another neo-fascist group, Forza Nuova, which was not involved in Thursday's ruling.

(Also read: Centre sets up fact-checking unit to check fake news related to govt and its policies)

 

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