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Guest tweeters on Sweden's Twitter account stir up controversy

June 12, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • Sonja Abrahamsson's tweets via Sweden's national Twitter account have caught some flack and attention.
Sonja Abrahamsson's tweets via Sweden's national Twitter… (Twitter )

If you had the keys to your country's Twitter account, what would you say?

Well, Sonja Abrahamsson has caused a bit of a stir with her tweets about Jews from the @Sweden handle.

This week's vox populi via @Sweden from Abrahamsson has delved into such curiosities as "Whats the fuzz with jews. You can't even see if a person is a jew," without intimate examination, she wrote in more explicit terms.

As you can imagine, her tweets have caught some flack and attention.

Abrahamsson, who describes herself as "a 27-year old womanlike human being from northern Sweden," is part of a government experiment entrusting its @Sweden national Twitter account to a new citizen every week.

So far, the project shows that people say the darnedest things.

Later, she tweeted that "In nazi German they even had to sew stars on their sleeves. If they didn't, they could never now who was a jew and who was not a jew."

Her related tweets go on in that manner. While her tweets are probably mostly shocking to those with broader cultural exposure, one tweet states what's obvious: "Where I come from there is no jews...."

Abrahamsson comes from a tiny town where everyone is related and owns a tractor, according to her bio on the Curators of Sweden page. Her exposure to the world may be rather limited, even as she broadcasts to it for answers.

That's not her only topic of interest, of course. Other tweets talk about her kids and the mundane doings of life.

What's unclear is the intent of the provocative tweets, which could be open to various interpretations because of language variations. Abrahamsson apologized for offending some with her musings, explaining, "I thought it was a good idea to ask the question when so many well educated people all over the world can answer. But no. Bad idea."

Maybe something significant was lost in translation with those mini missives. Then again, she earlier had posted this: "I found some pics I've shopped on da computer. This pic I call 'hungry gay with aids'," as a caption on a picture that had Queen's Freddy Mercury's face Photoshopped in it.

These curious musings come a few days after the program was in the spotlight of news coverage in the New York Times.

Abrahamsson isn't the first guest @Sweden tweeter to raise eyebrows. There was the tweeter named Jack from December. "I guess I'm drinking a lot of coffee, lighting my face up with my laptop and hanging out w friends. Oh and, you know, masturbation."

And then there was the breastfeeding mom who posted pictures of her nursing her two babies that created a bit of a controversy in March. To the reactions, she wrote that she didn't care whether others were offended: "I refuse to cover up. I refuse to be discrete. I refuse to feel shame!"

"It’s very important for us to let everyone take a unique viewpoint," VisitSweden's social media manager Tommy Sollén told the Wall Street Journal. "Every one of our curators is there with a different perspective."

Abrahamsson is the 24th curator in the initiative, which has included the likes of journalists, truck drivers and teachers, according to the publication.

Sure, every individual has an important voice in the chorus -- or cacophony -- that is a democracy. But should they really be given an online bullhorn to speak for everyone in the country?

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