The Sweden Institute, the government organisation that runs the official @sweden Twitter account, has blocked over 12,000 users they say promote hateful speech including Israel’s ambassador to Sweden and anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson.
The Sweden Institute (SI) has explained the move on their website saying that free speech is under threat from “internet hate”.
Jenny Ljung, Head of Communications for SI, said: “We have seen that internet hate primarily affects women, persons belonging to minorities and those who express strong opinions.”
The result has been that over 12,000 users have been blocked by SI on the grounds that they contribute to “hate speech”. Many of the accounts blocked have never even interacted with the @sweden account before.
“In our in-depth analysis of @sweden we have been able to see that three-quarters of internet hate comes from accounts who have never interacted with us,” Ljung said.
“We must also work proactively to create a safe arena for our curators.”
The “curators” of the @sweden account are Swedish men and women chosen at random every week who take over the account to post whatever they desire within set guidelines dictated by SI.
SI says that 12,000 accounts linked to “hatred and incitement against migrants, women and LGBT people, but also against organisations involved in human rights” have been blocked, and say many of the accounts have links to right wing political ideas or even neo-Nazism.
One person blocked by SI has been Israeli ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman. He tweeted: “Now, that Israel ‘s MFA and ambassador are blocked – Sweden is much safer in reading Iran and others, that were not blocked.”
— Isaac Bachman (@isaacbachman) May 16, 2017
Swedish newspaper Nyheter Idag has published a database of all the users who are blocked on their website. Amongst them is the leader of the anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats Jimmie Åkesson. The Sweden Democrats currently poll as the most popular party in the country and have taken a firm stand against mass migration and Islamisation.
Freedom of speech is becoming an intensely debated issue in Sweden as many Swedes find themselves under societal pressure not to talk about the negative effects of mass migration. When a person does speak out about the subject, they can be taken to court for inciting hatred.
Last week, a 70-year-old Swedish pensioner was prosecuted for hate speech for talking about seeing migrants setting fire to cars in her neighbourhood. The elderly woman wrote on Facebook she saw the migrants setting fires as well as urinating and defecating in the street. If found guilty, she could face up to four years in prison.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at firstname.lastname@example.org