, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1) How Context-Free Bullshit Spreads Online: The Case of The Veiled Woman on the Swedish Billboard.

So, the town of Gävle put this image up showing a local resident. The sign says "Welcome to Gävle" with the woman's name underneath. Because the woman is veiled, some were angry.
2) Of course, the implicit suggestion in many of the articles and tweets was that this woman was somehow selected to be the lone representative for the town of Gävle. That this was THE image to represent the city. Well...that's not quite the case.
3) The woman selected was one of 100 city residents, nominated by fellow residents, to represent the town to the outside world. Images of different people were all over town, and the billboard in question outside the town was digital, and showed a different person every week.
4) Here is the website with the 100 people selected to represent Gävle, a town which has seen a lot of immigration. I had a quick look, and of the 100 people on the list (again, nominated by residents), 4 are women who wear a hijab. gavle.se/gilla-gavle/fo…
5) Let's get back to the woman on the billboard. Why was she nominated by her fellow townspeople to represent Gävle? It turns out that she's a teacher who has worked at a number of schools, and, despite battling cancer, has continued her work with kids.
6) "Despite her cancer, she has always fought for kids at her school. She always tries to have a smile on her face & never gives up (...) Most students and teachers in town know her, and have nice things to say about her. That's why she deserves to be Gävle resident of the year."
7) So, what bothered people about the ad was simply that the woman wears a hijab. Why she was nominated was irrelevant. That fact that she is a well-liked teacher who battled cancer? Doesn't fit the narrative. Neither does the fact that she was nominated by fellow townspeople.
8) Also doesn't fit the "Islamification of Sweden" narrative that, of the 100 people selected to represent Gävle in this campaign, just 4 were veiled women (I know, I checked). Of course, when you can't speak Swedish, or don't want to mess up your narrative, that stuff slides by.
9) Story also presented that teacher had links to radicalism. The link? She gave an interview in 2009 about the opening of a new mosque in Gävle. 6 years later the imam of that mosque accused of radicalism. Is she still a mosque member? Does she share his views? Never discussed.
10) So, once again on social media, a grain of truth -- a woman with a hijab is selected to represent Gävle -- is exploded into de-contextualized, fact-free nonsense.
11) As a late, sad, predictable conclusion...after the story of the billboard with the image of the woman spread, the digital billboard was vandalized on several occasions over the last weekend to the point where it stopped working.
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