Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Facebook Is Not a Place to Connect and Share With People Who Hate Silvio Berlusconi

You can do a lot of things on Facebook, but cheering on the guy who hit Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the face is not one of them.

So says the social network service, cautioning that it will be keeping an eye on users who chatter about the attack, which left 73-year-old Berlusconi in the hospital with a broken nose. New York Times:

“Promoting violence, or posting threatening content, is not permitted on Facebook,” the social-networking site said. “We will take quick action to respond to reports, and remove any content reported to us that makes direct threats against an individual.”

Facebook has shut down the largest fan page for Massimo Tartaglia, the man who is accused of hitting Mr. Berlusconi on Sunday with a statuette of the Milan cathedral, after it had amassed almost 100,000 users in less than 48 hours.

That said, Facebook still has at least three groups dedicated to chattering about Tartaglia. Take a look:

Massimo Tartaglia Facebook

I get the sense that these groups aren’t wholly critical of Tartaglia, so I’m not sure why Facebook hasn’t shut them down too. But maybe I’m missing something. I passed two semesters of Italian in college, but only in the most technical sense, in that I didn’t actually fail. And the Web translation services I’ve been trying don’t seem to offer much help.

Here, for instance, is Google’s attempt to render the description of the largest Tartaglia group into English:

13/12/2009 BERLUSCONI IS SUFFERING FROM AN OBJECT metal or timber, a miniature of the Cathedral of Milan, a 42 ENNE, born in 1967, to be precise Massimo Tartaglia PRECISELY!

So. I know I have at least one reader who can translate this stuff for me, and I’m reaching out to him now. Meantime, anyone else want to take a shot?

UPDATE: Thanks to the Italian reader who offers this insight and anecdote:

The two big ones that are neither pro nor against, they’re just “for discussion”. Seems to me like [only] the pro-tartaglia groups were censured. The Italian government was making a big deal about there being pro-tartaglia groups.
Also, as soon as this happened I got an email from someone I know suggesting I become a fan of Tartaglia. But now if I go back to the email and click on it, it goes back to the homepage.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik