ROME: Facebook shut down phony Italian accounts and pages spreading fake news ahead of European Union parliamentary elections, prompting opposition lawmakers to call Monday for tougher laws to curb online misinformation.
“We have removed a number of fake and duplicate accounts that were violating our authenticity polices,” the social network said Sunday. It also took down pages that were posting false information as well as some that had started as non-political pages and built up followers, only to then switch names to become political sites.
Facebook acted last week after being tipped off by the left-leaning campaign group Avaaz, which said in a statement that its investigation found 23 Italian Facebook pages spreading false information such as made up quotes and “divisive” anti-migration, anti-vaccine and anti-Semitic content. “This is more proof that lies designed to sow hate and division in our societies are being spread deliberately on social media ahead of the EU elections,” Avaaz campaign director Christoph Schott said.