Fri | Jul 19, 2019

Facebook apologises to Mafia boss family after posts removed

Published:Thursday | November 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Facebook is apologising to the family of the 'boss of bosses' of Italy's Mafia for having removed messages of condolences that flowed in after his death last week.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Associated Press the posts on the feed of the son-in-law of Salvatore 'Toto' Riina were removed in error, after users complained that they violated Facebook's standards. After a review, Facebook restored the posts and apologised, the spokesperson said late Tuesday on condition of anonymity in keeping with Facebook rules.

The spokesperson didn't elaborate, but Facebook's terms of use prohibit content expressing support for groups involved in violent or criminal behaviour, terrorist activity or organised crime. "Supporting or praising leaders of those same organisations, or condoning their violent activities, is not allowed," according to Facebook's community guidelines.

The Facebook profiles of Riina's daughter, Maria Concetta Riina, and her husband, Antonino Tony Ciavarello, were inundated with condolences such as "Buon viaggio zio Toto" or "Have a good journey Uncle Toto" as well as denunciations for his crimes.

Facebook's apology came as Riina's remains arrived yesterday in Sicily following his death, November 17 in northern Parma, where he was serving 26 life sentences as the mastermind of a bloody strategy to assassinate both rivals and Italian authorities trying to bring down Cosa Nostra.

The family buried him in a private ceremony in the cemetery of Corleone, the real-life Cosa Nostra hotbed made famous by the book and fictional Godfather films.

The private ceremony and the social media controversy underscored the complicated mourning process for families of mafiosi, who are generally barred by the Catholic Church from holding public funerals, since that would only cement the clan's power.