In 2011, Sweden became the first nation to hand over its official Twitter account to the people. Each week, a different citizen gets to share his or her views on politics, culture and world news, and maybe a few amusing gifs too, with @sweden's 102,000 followers. However, in recent months this ground-breaking account, which is supposed to be a platform for constructive conversations and open-minded debate, has been targeted by a swelling wave of racist and sexist abuse. As Swedish outlet The Local reports, this week's curator, Swedish law student Jenny Hguyen, is fighting back by tweeting out some of the abusive DMs she has received while overseeing the account.
Henrik Selin of the Swedish Institute, the government agency which manages the account, told The Local: "We didn’t see it to this extent at all in the first five years of the account, but the growth in abuse seems to have started at some point in the beginning of the summer. We're trying to map it out and see if it's organised, and look at what kind of things may trigger it." Selin also noted, disturbingly, that "this kind of abuse tends to be targeted at women," adding: "We’re not quite sure yet if that's a key pattern, but it is mainly women who have received it over the summer." In a bid to reduce all abuse aimed at curators, the Swedish Institute has recently changed policy to make sure that @sweden's blocked users stay blocked. In the past, users blocked by a particular week's curator would have their viewing privileges reinstated the following week, once a new curator took over the account. In the meantime, Jenny Hguyen is refusing to be intimidated by the trolls and is using the account, brilliantly, to celebrate the strength and diversity of Asian women.