The Italian Almanac

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Camorra Online

A Facebook group inviting young people to join the Camorra is the latest mafia fan club to pop up on the popular social networking site, web observers said. The group claims to represent a ``new Camorra gang made up of teenagers`` in the Naples suburb of Pomigliano d`Arco and promises new members ``plenty of work``. Listed under the ``common interests`` category, the group has just three members, two of them children, and has not been confirmed as an authentic attempt to recruit kids into the Naples crime syndicate. However, town administrators are concerned that the group may be associated with a recent wave of vandalism attributed to juvenile delinquents, such as the destruction of a local playground.

The Pomigliano Camorra group is one of hundreds of groups on Facebook championing the mafia, many of them dedicated to famous gangsters. Earlier in the year, Facebook said it took down some mafia-related content, such as a page dedicated to Toto` `The Beast` Riina which had over 2,000 subscribers. However, there are still some 300 groups dedicated to the former Cosa Nostra `boss of bosses`, many of them demanding his release from prison. In January, the transnational crime envoy to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Carlo Vizzini, called the thousands of people who had joined mafia fan sites ``potential gangsters`` who ought to be investigated.

Last week, Facebook announced that its user base had surpassed 300 million, approaching the population of the United States, and that it had turned its first ever profit.