Internet turns to Sweden on Twitter after Trump appears to invent terror attack (Yahoo Security)

Emma Johansson is a school librarian from Borås, Sweden, and on Saturday, she found herself fact-checking the President of the United States.

The cross-border saga started at a rally in Melbourne, Florida that day, where Donald Trump defended his “Muslim immigration ban” before a crowd of thousands. “We’ve got to keep our country safe,” he said.

Promoting the controversial policy, he pointed to countries that in his view are troubled by immigration from predominantly Muslim nations. In particular, Sweden. “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” 

He then referred to Paris and Nice, both places that suffered significant terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

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Since his rally, no one seems able to find any (public) information about a Swedish incident “last night,” terrorist or otherwise. The White House has been contacted for details, so we’ll update if we hear back.

In the meantime, the internet turned to the @Sweden Twitter account for answers. 

A government initiative allows a new Swede to tweet from the country’s handle each week. The current curator is Johansson, who goes by the online names KSena or kseenaa. For one day, she became the unofficial voice of Sweden.

Johansson didn’t realise Trump had mentioned Sweden in his speech until the @Sweden account began getting “slammed” with questions. “When I saw the first one I checked and saw a clip of his speech when he mentions Sweden,” she said over email. “I knew then what I was in for.”

“Nothing has happened here in Sweden,” she tweeted. “There has not ben [sic] any terrorist attacks here.”

She answered questions late into the night, and woke Sunday morning with more than 800 mentions for the @Sweden account.

“I hope not many believed him,” she said, emphasising this was her personal view and not that of her country. “But I also fear that many of his supporters will. And that is very scary to me, to be honest.

“I’ve seen now and then on TV-shows how Americans mix up Sweden and Switzerland, think we have snow bears on the streets and all sorts of things, so who knows how many will believe it? More than I like to think about.”

Just what Trump was referring to remains a mystery. As many pointed out, however, there was a Tucker Carlson segment on Fox News Friday alleging that Sweden’s refugee program has led to an uptick in crime. Take that as you will.

For Johansson, Fox News didn’t show the Sweden she knows.

“Yes, Sweden has some problematic areas. And yes, we do have problems with integrating the refugees. But the way Ami [Horowitz] and Tucker talked about it is just crazy!” she added. “I don’t even know where they got all that from! My experience from over here with Trump is that he doesn’t appear to live in the real world.”

Sweden, which was long known for policies that welcomed refugees, has increased restrictions in recent years. According to the Swedish Migration agency, around 163,000 asylum seekers arrived in the country in 2015. In 2016, the country received 28,939 applications for asylum — the lowest figures since 2009.

The agency said the decrease was due to new Swedish laws that make it difficult to bring family members and to receive a permanent residence permit. Increased border restrictions across Europe have also halted the movement of refugees.

A new curator will take over the @Sweden account Sunday night. “It’s been fun being @Sweden,” Johansson said. “Hectic, but fun.”

UPDATE: Feb. 19, 2017, 9:48 p.m. AEDT Comment added from Emma Johansson.

Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 19, 2017 at 11:21AM

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