It is one thing to let someone take over the Twitter account and give them freedom to express themselves, it’s another to brand people racists for good!
I follow the @sweden Twitter account. It can be interesting to read what different people who live in Sweden think and comment on but sometimes it can go badly wrong!
Take last year when a a Muslim guy was curating the account. I don’t have the energy to go looking for the posts.
Anyway, he was getting a lot of abuse, something which was totally wrong. He should have just blocked the people but instead he played in to their hands and made posts where he said “I am the man who will break in to your sister’s room and rape her!” which was kind of shocking!
I am not easily shocked. I am someone who can joke about absolutely anything, in the correct context but for someone to post that kind of thing on the official account of a country is just wrong!
The Swedish Institute, who own and run the account, did nothing. The guy was free to express himself as he saw fit, which is laudable under freedom of speech but he was clearly using hate language, saying he’d do something totally horrible and painting other people of his faith in a bad light.
Like I said, he was provoked but when you are representing someone else or a group you have to be above that type of thing!
So this week came along and the headline that last week’s curator of @sweden blocked 14,000 users because the person, an online security expert, because she deemed them to be involved in “threats against migrants, women and LGBTQ people” or suspected of right-wing extremist or neo-Nazi links.
After Tahir’s week as curator ended, the Swedish Institute officially announced it was keeping the list of blocked users in an attempt to tackle a recent increase in racist and sexist abuse against the account.
“In our deep analysis of @sweden we have seen that three quarters of the online bullying comes from accounts that have never previously interacted with us,” Jenny Ljung, head of the Brand Sweden Unit at the Swedish Institute, said in a statement on Sunday.
“This shows that in order to be protected against online bullying it does not suffice to block an account once something happens. We also need to take preventive measures in order to create a safe arena for our curators,” she said.
But the move was harshly criticised after a copy of the list was leaked online, and was found to include members of the Swedish parliament, the Israeli ambassador to Sweden, newspaper Expressen’s foreign correspondent Magda Gad, and the well-known Swedish author Jonas Gardell, among many others.
Upset Twitter users contacted the Swedish Institute demanding answers as to why they had been blocked for no apparent reason, and this week’s @sweden curator, Tobias Johnsson, received an onslaught of abuse despite having nothing to do with the controversial blocking.
Other critics called into question why a government agency was registering people as having “right-wing extremist or neo-Nazi” links.
“Attributing such opinions is a serious thing, especially when done by a government agency. In that case there should of course be a reason for the accusation, which in many of these cases is lacking,” wrote Aleksandra Boscanin in an editorial for Göteborgs-Posten.
Responding to the criticism, the Swedish Institute said on Monday that it was unblocking all 14,000 users.
“SI has been contacted by a number of people who are upset because they feel they were blocked by @sweden on false grounds. We need to take a step back in order to more carefully review our blocking criteria,” Jenny Ljung said.
“We truly apologise to anyone who felt blocked without cause.”
In the end common sense prevailed but not after the loony left wing liberal gestapo tried and failed to brand people, mostly innocent, of being something they are not.
And to think they say we should be afraid of Donald Trump!