Facebook is a great place for hooking up people with similar interests – anything from blue cheese appreciation societies to fans of kabaddi and sumo can be found on the site.
However, from yesterday, boneheaded members of Italian neo-Nazi organisations are most definitely not welcome after Facebook management kicked out several such groups.
The seven online groups removed by the California SNS firm all called for violence against Italian gypsies. The ethnic grouping, also known as Roma, has recently become a hot political issue as the Italian government attempts to crack down on crime and remove gypsy townships.
A site statement explained the move, saying: "Facebook supports the free flow of information, and groups provide a forum for discussing important issues. However, Facebook will remove any groups which are violent or threatening."
More needs to be done
Nevertheless, there have been calls for Facebook to implement automatic filters to weed out hate groups, instead of relying on human intervention to manually remove inappropriate groups.
A spokesperson for the Simon Wiesenthal Center added: "It's not a new thing - it's happened before, it's even happened before on Facebook. We are not surprised this group of really marginal Italian neo-Nazis have taken advantage of it."