Swedish Government Pushes to Ban Anonymity on Social Media
The Swedish government is planning to put more pressure on tech giants Google, Facebook, and Twitter to end anonymity for ‘online trolls’ and those accused of posting hate speech.
Minister for Housing and Digitisation Peter Eriksson said that he and Justice Minister Morgan Johansson were working together to put even more pressure on the social media companies to deal with so-called hate speech online, Expressen reports.
“So far, it has been too easy to be able to say anything on the internet,” Eriksson said and added that individuals should be held responsible for what they say.
“The troll accounts that exist today – as well as in Sweden – must end. You have to point out to the big platforms and tell them you have a responsibility, you have to clean up and get rid of this,” he added.
Both ministers are set to meet with representatives from Google, Facebook, and other internet companies on April 13th and Eriksson confirmed that Swedish media would also be present at the meeting. “I think we need a lot of new rules, some of which can be regarding laws,” he said.
Sweden has been one of the countries in Europe at the forefront of prosecuting citizens for hate speech along with Germany and the UK. The Swedish government has also been active in promoting measures to combat so-called “fake news” online, giving out millions of Swedish Krona to mainstream media companies to fight it on social media.
The country has also seen a rise in prosecutions against those posting hate speech online, largely due to the efforts of the hate speech reporting group Näthatsgranskaren which is said to have been behind the reporting of over 800 hate speech incidents.
By the group’s own admission, many of those they report to police are elderly women. One woman, a 65-year-old named Christina, was taken to court after she claimed on Facebook that mass Muslim migration would lower the general IQ of the country.
She later described intense harassment from Swedish police which produced 150 pages of material, much of which had been gathered by Näthatsgranskaren.