Far-right accounts ‘spreading fake news and hate speech’ in Spain and Europe ahead of elections

FAR-RIGHT groups have been spreading fake news, propaganda and hate speech on Spanish social media and across Europe ahead of this month’s EU elections, a campaign group has claimed.

Avaaz said more than 500 accounts linked to the far-right were posting the content on Facebook. There activity has been detected in Spain, Britain, Italy, Poland, Germany and France, according to Avaaz.

Avaaz said in its Far-Right Networks of Deception report that a Europe-wide investigation showed groups were ‘weaponising’ social media ahead of EU elections held in Spain on Sunday. British voters go to the polls today (Thursday).

Avaaz Campaign Director Christoph Schott said: “Millions of Europeans will cast their votes this week after being exposed to toxic lies without knowing it.”

“Together, the pages removed had almost three times more followers (5.9 million) than the pages of the main European far-right and anti-EU parties combined,” Avaaz said.

Avaaz said it found three far-right networks spreading misinformation and hateful content in Spain.

“Most of the pages were supporting the far-right Vox party and were mainly managed by fake or duplicate accounts,” Avaaz said.

A further three were found in Britain, according to the group’s report.

The pro-human rights campaign group said one example of such content was a video which claimed to show migrants smashing up a police car. It was viewed by almost 10 million people, Avaaz said.

“The problem? It’s completely false- it’s actually from a movie. That did not stop far-right groups around Europe from sharing it.

“Facebook did nothing while it went viral, increasing suspicion, hostility and hatred towards migrants,” Avaaz said.

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Joe Gerrard

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