The government-backed @Sweden Twitter account manned by a different Swede every week has been pumping out information about Sweden's crime rate, immigration, and terrorism statistics to counter claims made by US President Donald Trump.
"Let's be clear: a lot happened #lastnightinsweden. Things happen all of the time. Just not the things @realdonaldtrump are [sic] spreading," said Max V Karlsson, who works for a tenants' rights group in Stockholm, and is manning the account this week.
Karlsson's tenure curating the account, which belongs to the Swedish Institute – a government agency tasked with spreading information about Sweden – follows vague claims by President Trump Saturday (18 February) that Sweden is under threat from immigrants.
"We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! They took in large numbers, they're having problems like they never thought possible," Trump said while advocating a crackdown on immigrants.
The statement left Swedes perplexed since there hadn't been any terrorist attacks, attacks by immigrants, or anything out of the ordinary happening Friday night.
"We look forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies," said Sweden's US embassy in response to the US president. But Karlsson decided to take the message about Swedish immigration and crime to the people through the @Sweden account.
"Commencing first fact dump of the week..." he wrote before laying out a ream of statistics. One shows that in the time Sweden took in roughly 250,000 refugees, the country's unemployment rate fell 1.2% and it is more prosperous than ever. The country also ranks in the top three most democratic countries in the world, according to the 2016 Democracy Index.
The trolls soon attacked. "Sweden, a country deep in denial about a growing problem of migrant violence!" said one poster, citing a story about a Fox News segment that Trump said inspired his comment.
In the segment, documentarian Ami Horowitz claims crimes by immigrants are out of control and shows two Swedish policemen seemingly answering questions about immigrant violence. On Monday 20 February, one of those officers, Anders Göranzon, told Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) that all their answers had had been taken out of context and manipulated to fit the filmmaker's narrative.
"We do not stand behind it. It shocked us. He has edited the answers. We were answering completely different questions in the interview. This is bad journalism," Göranzon said, explaining that the interview was supposed to be about crime in high-risk areas. "There wasn't any focus on migration or immigration," he said.
"Remarkable. Same crowd who wants detailed statistics regarding positive impacts of immigration cites unverified info when it suits agenda," said Karlsson as he worked to counter claims that crime in Sweden is on the rise and immigrants are at fault.
Karlsson, however, was confronted with the fact that Monday night a riot broke out in a predominantly immigrant suburb in Stockholm after police arrested a suspect on drug charges. People started throwing stones at police and some wearing masks set fire to cars and looted shops.
"In general, crime statistics have gone down the last (few) years, and there is no evidence to suggest that new waves of immigration have lead to increased crime," according to Henrik Selin, deputy director of the Swedish Institute.
"Coming back with more facts and hopefully some cheerful content tomorrow," said Karlsson as he signed off for the night. "Thank you for a great Monday!"