Bildt joins the world of Facebook

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has become first high-profile Swedish politician to set up a page on popular networking site Facebook. But there's not much politics on his page.

Among Bildt’s 11 friends on the site are his wife, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, his daughter Gunnel Bildt and a Swedish diplomat in Afghanistan.

American politicians have already discovered the power of setting up their own Facebook sites. Hillary Clinton has a Facebook page as part of her campaign for the US presidency.

Other candidates with a Facebook profile include Republican Mitt Romney. But while Romney proudly describes his political affiliations as ‘conservative’, Bildt, a member of centre-right Moderate Party, simply files his political beliefs under ‘Other’.

Bildt seems to have had difficulties setting up his account, particularly the part that specifies sexual orientation – his daughter has posted a message on his page asking: “Are you aware you have said you’re interested in men?”. By the time The Local saw the page, the error had been corrected.

The minister, who is also Sweden’s former prime minister, was previously a pioneer in the virtual world Second Life, where he officially opened Sweden’s virtual embassy earlier this year.

While Bildt’s Facebook page is of a more private nature than those of the American politicians, he has so far kept his full profile public, instead of taking the opportunity to make it private. Political opponents and allies alike are given the opportunity to ‘Bite this Chump’, or ‘Poke Him’. His spokeswoman, Sara Malmgren, told The Local that she was not aware of plans for him to use the site for political purposes.

“I believe that this is a completely private thing. He doesn’t want to make a comment about it.”

According to entries in his profile, Bildt made all changes to the site late at night, outside office hours.

Facebook, which was set up as a college networking site at Harvard, currently has 34 million active users from around the world.