02:00 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Sweden Comes Under Porn Storm as Nude Women Invade Cities' Hashtags

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    Of late, Sweden has come under a porn storm, as its social media became flooded by pictures of scantily clad women and people having sex. Ironically, the seedy images are being hash-tagged with the names of cities and municipalities, provoking angry reactions among innocent locals.

    Over the recent weeks, a number of porn images were shared through Jönköping's hashtag #jonkoping on Twitter, Swedish Radio reported. In recent days, the #jonkoping tag was overflowed with porn ads and webcam broadcasts with a lot of nude photos. A number of other cities were affected by the avalanche of porn, including Nyköping, Norrköping, Växjö, Skellefteå and many more, which affects the net marketing of the municipalities.

    "The case of Jönköping is not unique, as other cities' hashtags are also used to spread this kind of imagery," Linda Myrendal, who runs the webpage Destination Jönköping, told Swedish Radio.

    Destination Jönköping primarily uses #jkpg but still has an eye on the other tag.

    ​"Unfortunately, is has been going on for a long time. The hashtag is free, so it's nothing we can possibly control. Anyway, we must notify the authorities when we see posts like this and hope that Twitter will remove them," Myrendal told.

    According to Myrendal, the obscene images may have an adverse effect on the municipality's tourist prospects. In Sweden, the city is renowned for ice hockey, pizza and beaches, such negative publicity may be a nightmare. It's time to reclaim the hashtag, she argued.

    "It would be nice if everyone started posting positive messages and nice pictures on the hashtag so we can show the right image of our beautiful municipality.

    People react as they stand around cars gutted by fire in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby
    © AFP 2019 / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND
    According to media researcher Marie Grusell, this may be "a new creative way to attract visitors," whereas other Swedish experts attributed this web vandalism to a so-called "spam bomb."

    "This is hardly a targeted attack against the municipalities. Most probably, some spamming bots came over a list of various Swedish cities' hashtags, David Jacoby, IT security expert at Russian software security group Kaspersky Lab, told Swedish Radio.

    According to Michael Hedström, press spokesman for the Police Central region, officials are aware of the porn storm, citing suspicions of organized crime, including players from abroad.

    ​"We have understood that this occurs all over the country. Browsing various Swedish cities' hashtag, similar tweets pop up all around. Perhaps they are combing through Swedish social media to see how the market looks. In the long run, they may actually come here to sell services, which is why we keep an eye on it, including good contact with various local hotels" Hedström told Swedish newspaper Vestmanlands Läns Tidning.

    According to Hedström, it is especially difficult for the police to intervene since neither webcam streaming nor posting scantily clad pictures of adults is illegal in itself. However, different laws may be applied once children and young people are involved.

    "In reality, we may only content ourselves with a statement of facts. It is important to emphasize that there is no one who has taken over our accounts. This is not something we can control, as the Internet is free," Mattias Skoog, web strategist at Varberg Municipality, which is among the affected, pointed out to Swedish Radio.

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