Skip to content

Horrors, horrors

Swedish media outlets have reported on nationalist “troll farms” in the past, but a TV4 journalist spent a year working undercover at the communications department of the Sweden Democrats. The channel said it was able to confirm at least 23 social media accounts run anonymously from the department. In just three months, posts from these accounts got 27m views across social media platforms.

The reporting suggests that this is the tip of an iceberg of misinformation and ultra-nationalist hate speech coming straight out of the publicly funded offices of a party on which the governing coalition relies for support. In hidden camera shots, party strategists were also seen coordinating secret attacks on political opponents, including conservatives who were deemed insufficiently loyal to the Sweden Democrats’ cause.

People we don’t like are able to talk to other people.

The Horror.

This is a new, dangerous phase for Swedish democracy. By launching a frontal assault on the legitimacy of the news media, the far right has raised the stakes for the future stability of Sweden’s democracy.

That’s almost American in its pomposity.

For too long, our dangerously unregulated digital commons have been poisoned by misinformation and hate speech,

As is that. People we don’t like should not be allowed to speak.

Ressa did not just place the blame on the despots and wannabe dictators of the global far right, but also on the tech companies for allowing misinformation, hate speech and troll farms to grow and fester, suffocating the truth. “Without facts, you can’t have truth, and without truth, you can’t have trust. Without these three, we have no rule of law, no democracy.”

This is a particularly serious challenge for Sweden and its neighbours. The Nordic model is built on high trust in governing institutions, in the media, in academia and science, as well as interpersonal relations.

That is, people shouldn;t be allowed to speak because that might damage trust in ……..what? Seriously, you can imagine Goebbels saying that, can’t you? We can’t have Jews running newspapers because that might destroy trust in Der Fuhrer. Jesu C onna pogo stick that’s a vile attitude.

18 thoughts on “Horrors, horrors”

  1. “the global far right”; I thought the notion that there was a group of people trying to rule the world was just a conspiracy theory? Was I right all along?

  2. The Nordic model is built on high trust in governing institutions, in the media, in academia and science, as well as interpersonal relations.

    Well that’s fucked isn’t it? I doubt many Swedes trust their “governing institutions” or media, which have been lying to them for years about immigration and which now are gaslighting them for objecting to the lies.

    Islam doesn’t do high trust societies BTW. And Sweden is getting on for 20% Muslim.

  3. In Sweden, a far-right assault on the media is undermining the Nordic model

    Those damn Nords are undermining the Nordic model.

    Good.

    From troll farms to racist hate speech, nationalists’ bullying tactics are having a chilling effect on political journalism

    Take their lunch money and flush their heads down the toilet.

  4. “The reporting suggests that this is the tip of an iceberg of misinformation and ultra-nationalist hate speech…”

    I bet some of these ultra-nationalists even referred to the rape of Swedish women and Muslim crime gangs in Malmo.

    Truly hateful, should be stopped.

  5. Anyone fancy taking the lid off the social media activities of all the other parties? Starmer’s Labour are not running a social media campaign?
    And I do wish they’d get heads around what an “internet troll” actually is. It’s certainly not what they’re talking about. That’d be sock puppets wouldn’t it? I doubt if any of them would be bright enough to do trolling. It’s an art.

  6. “ Sweden is one of the world’s strongest democracies, with very high levels of trust in its media and political institutions.”

    That’s utter bollocks, as any search on the subject shows, they’ve been complicit in covering up violence in the country.

    Fraser Nelson, whose wife is Swedish, wrote this in 2016:

    “ Why can’t the Swedish authorities be honest about crime and immigration?

    And, in this way, a xenophobic populist backlash is being incubated in the most open country on earth. It really does take some doing.“

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-can-t-the-swedish-authorities-be-honest-about-crime-and-immigration/

  7. Why can’t the Swedish authorities be honest about crime and immigration?

    Because if they were honest, they might end up doing a funny dance under a lamppost?

  8. The Meissen Bison

    I like the idea of Troll Farms and I wonder if Jim can provide some information here. I wonder whether 23 trolls is a sufficiently large herd to constitute a farm or whether this should more correctly be a Troll Smallholding.

    Perhaps the Swedes need to get Surrey plod to help¹.

    [1] with thanks to JuliaM

  9. “People we don’t like are able to talk to other people.”

    Well exactly. As I always say in these situations …

    “For too long, our dangerously unregulated … commons have been poisoned by misinformation and hate speech,”

    … take the “digital” out and see how it sounds. The only reason they want to control online speech is that they (think they) can. If they thought they could get away with bugging every pub, bus-shelter, and living-room in the country, they’d be in like a shot.

    And if you doubt it, I refer you to the Scottish ultra-nationalists’ “hate speech” law, which makes no distinction between private and public speech.

  10. TMB,

    A small number of trolls may be held without license. Most small troll farmers therefore keep their numbers below that level. Beyond that a license is needed, and there is then a further threshold at which trolls obtain greater benefits such as troll representation on the farm management board, along with various additional statutory protections such as not having to be milked on Sundays.

    Troll smallholdings are therefore mostly kept just below that second limit.

    Those that go beyond that level will then bump up against another number, beyond which you really have to go all-in because it requires availability for unannounced troll inspections, mandatory veterinary care for the trolls, tagging and labelling, documentation that no trolls are used as slaves and no troll slavery went into any of the farm inputs, full documentation of all troll breeding to ensure that only licensed varieties of trolls are used, and regular audits of the sewage for excess levels of troll nitrogen.

    The troll farming business is therefore subdivided into three categories, the hobbyists, the smallholders, and the megacorporations, the latter of which are constantly lobbying for reduction of the bureaucratic thresholds and ultimately full imposition of the rules that megacorps have to follow on the hobbyists.

  11. @BiG
    You forgot to mention subsidies under the Common Agricultural & Information Dissemination Policy.

  12. The Meissen Bison

    Thank you -that’s very comprehensive, BiG. Any sign of Troll Farmers bringing down die Ampel?

  13. bloke in spain said:
    “Anyone fancy taking the lid off the social media activities of all the other parties? “

    Didn’t this sort of online army start with Obama, and the Left thought it was all wonderful?

  14. “ The Nordic model is built on high trust in governing institutions, in the media, in academia and science, as well as interpersonal relations”

    Interesting that they’re trying to capture the concept of a “high trust” society and change its meaning. What it actually means is a society “where ethical values are strongly shared” so “ interpersonal trust is relatively high” and they can have “a high degree of mutual trust, not imposed … but based upon prior moral consensus”.

    That of course was weakened by mass immigration .

    What they’re trying to shift it to is that “high trust” means we blindly follow the government and don’t start digging into the awkward facts.

  15. Tim Worstall said:
    “Yep. And it became terrible when Trump proved to be really good at Facebook in 2016.”

    Ah, yes, I’d forgotten about that.

    Interesting also that their objection to online nationalist internet warriors doesn’t seem to mention the Scottish cyber-nats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *