@sweden signs off after seven years as Twitter voice of nation
Sweden @sweden signs off after seven years as Twitter voice of nation
Curators of Sweden project will fall silent at end of month after 200,000 tweets by 365 citizens
The first curator was nicknamed âthe masturbating Swedeâ after he detailed his preferred leisure activities. Others have fought with Denmark and Donald Trump, sparked outrage by asking why some people donât like Jews, and admitted theyâd rather be having sex.
After almost seven years of confusion, controversy and comedy, @sweden, the first national Twitter account to be handed, unfiltered, to a different citizen each week, will tweet its last at the end of this month, organisers have said.
Launched in 2011 to âboost interest in Sweden â¦ and show in practice it is an open and democratic countryâ, the Curators of Sweden project has won multiple awards, gathered nearly 150,000 followers and has been much emulated, including by @Ireland.
âIt was a groundbreaking initiative when it was launched,â said Anna Rudels, of the Swedish Institute, one of the projectâs instigators. âThe internet and social media have since developed at an unprecedented rate. Every project has an end, and it is time for us to move on.â
By the time the last @sweden curator tweets their final tweet on 30 September, a total of 365 ordinary residents of Sweden will have posted roughly 200,000 times to the account. Rudels sa id she was âtruly gratefulâ to all of them.
Curators have been free to write whatever they want, with tweets deleted only if they broke the law, promoted a commercial brand or posed a security threat. Hate speech, trolling and personal attacks were to be avoided and other peopleâs views respected.
Not every stint passed without incident. In 2012 Sonja Abrahamsson, 27, from a northern village where âall people are relatives and own tractorsâ, sparked a storm by asking, apparently innocently: âWhats the fuzz with jews. You canât even see if a person is a jew, unless you see their penises, and even if you do, you canât be sure!?â
Sara Persson caused almost as much consternation in 2017 by replying, when asked what three things made Sweden unique: âWe donât believe in God. We trust state more than family. We eat sweet jam together with meat.â (The first two did not go down well with some Americans.)
In 2016, after Jenny Nguyen, a Swedi sh law student on an academic exchange in Hong Kong, shared some of the abuse she had been receiving, organisers said curators were increasingly being targeted, sometimes in organised campaigns, and acknowledged they could be forced to close the account as a last resort.
The following year the account found itself in trouble after adopting a list of 14,000 accounts that one curator, Vian Tahir, an online security expert, had blocked during her seven days as @sweden because she considered them âthreatening to migrants, women and LGBTQ peopleâ or having far-right or neo-Nazi links. The Swedish Institute hastily unblocked all after the list was found to include MPs, journalists, a well-known author and an ambassador.
Some curators acquitted themselves admirably amid Twitterstorms that were none of their making.
When Donald Trump told a rally last year that Sweden was âhaving problems like they never thought possibleâ after âtaking in large numbersâ of refugees, 22-year-old Max Karlsson defended his country diligently, beginning: âHey Don, this is @Sweden speaking! Itâs nice of you to care, really, but donât fall for the hype. Facts: Weâre ok!âTopics
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