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- The video is from 2013 and features neo-fascists in Italy tearing down the European Union flag. It is unrelated to the 2022 Italian election.
Brothers of Italy, a far-right political party rooted in the emergence of post-World War II neo-fascism, garnered a majority of votes in Italy’s general election Sept. 25.
Giorgia Meloni, who co-founded and leads the Brothers of Italy, is poised to become the country's first female prime minister. She's also expected to lead the most right-wing government Italy has had since Benito Mussolini, Italy’s fascist dictator during the early 20th century.
A day after the election, an Instagram account shared footage of what appears to be a large crowd of Italian demonstrators taking to the streets and waving the country’s flag. The video was similarly shared in other Facebook posts and tweets as news of Meloni’s election was trending. (One Facebook post shared before the election used the same video and claimed to show "Italian demonstrators today" tearing down the European Union flag and replacing it with Italy’s flag.)
"Italians take down an EU flag and replace it with an Italian flag," a block of text over the video posted on Instagram claimed, referencing the European Union, an economic and political union of 27 countries, including Italy.
The video shows demonstrators clashing with police, and a man wearing an Italian flag mask climbing the balcony of a nearby building to remove a European Union flag hanging from it. The man tosses the flag into the crowd below.
"Look at those radical Italian Nationalists," the video’s caption said. "I’m sure the (mainstream media) will be calling them fascists in no time."
The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, owns Instagram. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Unstated in these posts, however, is that this video predates the 2022 election by about nine years.
The video is from a Dec. 14, 2013 demonstration by CasaPound, a neo-fascist group that venerates Mussolini. The exact segment featured in the Instagram video can be found around the 2:25 mark of this video uploaded to YouTube Dec. 16, 2013. At no point in the original video did the man replace the European Union flag with an Italian one.
The video shows the neo-fascist group swarming the Rome headquarters of the European Commission during a wave of protests in Italy related to economic insecurity and skepticism toward the European Union.
A video shared widely on Instagram the day after Italy’s 2022 election claimed, "Italians take down an EU flag and replace it with an Italian flag."
But the video shows a demonstration in 2013 related to economic insecurity and skepticism toward the European Union.
Claims this video involved the recent election are False.
Instagram video, Sept. 26, 2022
Associated Press, "How a party of neo-fascist roots won big in Italy," Sept. 26, 2022
Al Jazeera, "From EU to immigration: What Italy’s next government might do," Sept. 26, 2022
The Washington Post, "Why Italy’s media fixates on CasaPound, an extreme-right party with a racist agenda," May 28, 2019
Reuters, "Italian neo-fascist group tears down flag from EU headquarters," Dec. 14, 2013
YouTube, Italian protesters replace the European flag with the national flag, Dec. 16, 2013
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