Sweden Shuts Down Their Twitter Account

Sweden is famous for many things — its natural beauty, its health care, its wealth, IKEA — but one of the country’s most public achievements doesn’t always come up in conversation. Since 2011, the Swedish Institute handed over the keys to the country’s official Twitter account to a new Swede every week, letting them tweet anything they wanted. The goal was to show the country as it really exists through the eyes of its various citizens. Unfortunately, times have changed. When the Twitter project began, the Internet was a different place. What used to be a home for funny posts and harmless gags gradually transformed into a cesspool of toxic actors and bad-faith harassers. Suddenly, there was a playbook for how to intimidate and bully specific targets, threaten their jobs, and even drive them off social media entirely. Online harassment is about as old as the Internet itself, but when it became apparent that Twitter for Sweden had become nothing more than another place to spew venomous statements and express opinions on things that shouldn’t even be discussed on social media, Sweden decided enough was enough. So, the Swedish Institute brought an end to the Sweden project. “Every project has an end, and it’s time for us to move on,” said Henrik Selin, head of intercultural dialogue at the Swedish Institute.