According to the Swedish mainstream media, the country has experienced a significant rise in prosecutions for “hate speech” on social media last year. The organization believed to be largely responsible for this rise is “Näthatsgranskaren” (“The Web Hate Investigator”), a private organization founded in January 2017 by a former police officer, Tomas Åberg, who has taken it upon himself to identify and report to the authorities Swedish individuals whom he and his organization decide are committing thought crimes and “inciting hatred” against foreigners.
Åberg’s organization reported no fewer than 750 Swedish citizens in 2017 to the authorities for “web hate”. According to Aftonbladet, 14% of the reported cases went on to prosecution of which about 7% — 77 cases — led to actual convictions. Most of the people identified and reported by the organization were middle aged and elderly ladies. “The average age is around 55 years”, said Åberg, “Young women almost do not appear at all”.
According to Aftonbladet, “In his work, Tomas Åberg sees how quickly people are radicalized on the internet and he thinks it’s scary. It may begin with statements against foreigners that are within the framework of the law, only to end with serious criminal hatred”. (“Hate” is actually not a crime, according to Swedish law; “incitement to hate” is).
Åberg founded the organization with a friend, because, he said, he did not think that “serious internet crimes” were being taken…