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Facebook removes fake Italian accounts ahead of EU election

FILE - This Jan. 17, 2017, file photo shows a Facebook logo displayed in a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will meet Friday May 10, 2019 French President Emmanuel Macron as the tech giant and France try to pioneer ways of fighting hate speech and violent extremism online. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

ROME — Facebook says it has shut down some Italian accounts that were phoney and pages that were spreading fake news ahead of European Union parliamentary elections.

The social network said Sunday it “removed a number of fake and duplicate accounts that were violating our authenticity polices, as well as multiple pages for name change.”

The company said it “took action against some additional pages that repeatedly posted misinformation.”

Facebook took action last week after being tipped off by the campaign group Avaaz.

Avaaz said in a separate statement that its investigation found 23 Italian Facebook pages that were spreading false information such as made up quotes and “divisive” content.

It said the pages had about 2.5 million followers, and more than a dozen of the pages supported rightwing and populist parties.

The Associated Press