Extinction Rebellion claims responsibility for Swedish pension fund hoax

Extinction Rebellion claims responsibility for Swedish pension fund hoax
The Extinction Rebellion carrying out a separate protest in Stockholm last year. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Climate activists have claimed responsibility for a hoax claiming that Sweden's largest pension fund was scrapping its investments in fossil fuels.

A statement was published Monday on a website which purported to be the fund's official site with information from someone purporting to be the fund's spokesman Johan Floren.

The statement, given in both English and Swedish, was published on a site called ap-fonderna.se and copied the format of the real site of AP7, the largest of Sweden's AP national pension funds.

“Extinction Rebellion wants to turn the spotlight on those ludicrous investments,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.

“That is why we chose to send a press release in the name of AP7. We understand that we have caused some confusion and we are very sorry if any of you have felt cheated. We do have all the respect for journalism and we never intended to undermine the trust in media.”

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Floren denounced the group's action and said the fund was going to report the incident to police.

“When disinformation with fake web sites, fake press releases and even people pretending to be someone else, become ordinary campaigning, not only media reporting will suffer. People will suffer,” he said.

“Citizens will give up, and stop trying to make informed democratic decisions when no one knows anymore, what is true and what is not.”

AFP had to retract a story based on the false information put out by Extinction Rebellion. The AFP report was published on The Local, but was deleted shortly thereafter after news of the hoax emerged, and was never shared on social media.

“AFP condemns without reservation this dishonest attempt to manipulate the media with false information,” AFP global news director Phil Chetwynd said.

“This kind of action targeting the free press is counter-productive and can only contribute to a damaging erosion of trust.”

Several Scandinavian pension funds have stopped investments in fossil fuels.


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