(PresidentialInsider.com)- The Swedish Agency for Psychological Defense has begun an online anti-disinformation campaign, warning Swedes against internet memes that might spread false information.
The warning is part of a campaign called “Don’t Be Deceived,” which was started in January.
On the campaign’s website, the agency notes that humor, parody, and satire usually are innocent forms of entertainment but may sometimes be exploited to disseminate inaccurate information and ridicule or criticize individuals or beliefs — for example, in memes.
Memes can divert attention away from a particular subject, hijack and reshape a conversation, or promote a personal purpose.
The agency also cautions Swedes about memes distributed by bots or automated social media accounts. It offers tips on spotting them, such as looking at profile photographs, follow counts, and how active the accounts are.
The agency states that the foreign states and forces behind the disinformation influence to hurt Sweden have enormous resources at their disposal.
Mikael Östlund, Head of Communications at the Swedish Agency for Psychological Defense, told the Swedish magazine Resume about the initiative.
Nemo Stjernström, the campaign’s agency project manager, said that foreign influence and disinformation might come in the most unassuming packages. To meet influence campaigns in the same arena as they perform, we elected to employ a more humorous tone and memes in our initial campaign. Together, we will develop resilience, and it will begin in every social media feed.
Swedish interior minister Mikael Damberg said a significant responsibility for the agency in 2022 would be to strive to increase society’s ability to recognize and manage misinformation directed at Sweden in conjunction with the General Election.
In past years, Sweden has attempted to combat so-called disinformation online, awarding various major media organizations 13.5 million kronor (£1.2 million) in 2017 to combat “fake news” ahead of the 2018 elections.
Credit for all of these initiatives goes to former President of the United States, Donald Trump.
He put the phrase “fake news” in the vernacular. He was the first prominent politician to recognize the problem and talk about it.
He was largely mocked at the time. But he had his finger on the pulse of what matters, as usual.