On September 9th, Swedes took to the polls to vote for a new prime minister and members of parliament. Studying a sample of Twitter posts in the run-up to the elections, researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute found that 22% of shared content specifically about the election was Junk News (an actual term), or deliberately misleading information that does not link back to a credible source. In contrast, Professional News accounted for 52% of all election-related posts. As such, the researchers found that Junk News “contributed substantially to the conversation around the Swedish General Election.”
Last year, the government created a task force to combat the possibility of social media disinformation campaigns ahead of elections, instituted school programs, and more recently sent civil defense pamphlets to all Swedish households. Outside of government, large media organizations created a joint fact-checking platform; as part of the Pop-Up Newsroom, over 100 journalists collaborated to monitor Swedish and foreign media, answer questions from voters, and prototype reproducible workflows for future elections.
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