The Norwegian government’s attempt to spread the word via social media that it was clamping down on asylum seekers at its northern border to Russia set off a rash of comments deemed “hateful” and “racist” by Norway’s anti-discrimination ombud. By Tuesday afternoon, the Justice Ministry felt compelled to block comments from the public.
“We cannot tolerate any racism and threats,” State Secretary Jøran Kallmyr told foreign correspondents during a meeting in Oslo.
He said the ministry’s Facebook page informing the public about tougher new asylum procedures attracted around 80,000 visitors right after it was launched last week. “Most of the people commenting were constructive, and we saw the site as a way for people to let off some steam,” Kallmyr said.
But then the infamous Internet “trolls” took over, writing malicious, hateful and threatening comments about refugees, many of which were deemed racist. Kallmyr’s assistant said that one man alone sent in more than 200 hateful comments, which were blocked.
Kallmyr said the government introduced 24-hour monitoring of the Facebook pages for the ministry and Justice Minister Anders Anundsen, but it wasn’t enough. The comments function was thus disabled.