May 5, 2023

Authors and affiliation: Jessica Giandomenico and Hanna Linderstål, Earhart Business Protection Agency

Reviewer: Per Enerud, Statlig Myndighet


  • The Swedish information landscape has seen practically the same set of disinformation issues as the rest of Europe in the last couple of years: related to COVID-19, vaccines, 5G radiation, renewable energy, migration, and so forth. This underlines the already widely drawn conclusion that these issues are driven by multi-national disinformation agents targeting at least Europe as a continent, if not an even broader audience.
  • Many of the disinformation themes mentioned above can be traced to a broader narrative linked to pro-Russian interests and actors, aiming at disturbing the democratic dialogue in society and promoting discord and distrust. These narratives exploited by Russian state actors have turned towards promoting the idea of peace and negotiations regarding the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Again, this follows the lines we see in the rest of Europe.
  • This report highlights a specific case for the Swedish context: the claim that Swedish social services kidnap children from Muslim immigrant families to force them to become Christians. Based on misunderstandings of Swedish law, the desperation and confusion of the families have been distorted and amplified by both domestic and foreign actors, mainly in Arabic. The narrative has helped a predominantly immigrant-based political party grow, has increased tensions between Swedish institutions and the country’s Muslim inhabitants, and has even migrated into the Russian information landscape. It may even affect the general view of Sweden in Muslim societies and indirectly feed into the Turkish decision to delay or withhold the Swedish membership of NATO. Thus this one case, based on misunderstandings, has developed into disinformation and information operations affecting trust in domestic institutions and Sweden as a country, and even potentially international relations.

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The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of EU DisinfoLab. This factsheet does not represent an endorsement by EU DisinfoLab of any organisation.

This project is funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.