Facebook Apologizes to Family of Mafia Boss

It removed posts of condolences after death of 'boss of bosses'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2017 2:04 PM CST
Facebook Apologizes to Family of Mafia Boss
In this April 29, 1993 file photo, Salvatore Riina, the reputed Mafia boss of bosses, waves from behind bars in Rome.   (AP Photo/Giulio Broglio)

Facebook is apologizing 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 AP 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 apologized, the spokesperson said. The spokesperson didn't elaborate, but Facebook's terms of use prohibit content expressing support for groups involved in violent or criminal behavior, terrorist activity, or organized crime. "Supporting or praising leaders of those same organizations, 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 Totò" or "Have a good journey Uncle Toto"—as well as denunciations for his crimes. Facebook's apology came as Riina's remains arrived Wednesday in Sicily following his death Nov. 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.

(More Facebook stories.)

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