Monday’s mass mailing of an SMS about the coronavirus to the Swedish people has attracted a lot of attention, and has also received some criticism. Both MSB and Krisinformation.se advised the government against carrying out the mass mailing, reports SVT.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) considered an SMS “unsuitable for mass mailings of this type”. Among other things, the authority pointed out that it would risk overloading the mobile networks, take a very long time to perform – and that the message would risk becoming obsolete before it reached everyone.
Krisinformation.se saw a fear that the corona text message could block mailings of a much more urgent nature. In addition, there were concerns that it would raise “extremely many questions in Krisinformations.se’s social media channels”, which would take resources from other important information.
Krisinformation.se is run by MSB, but the site can be used by all authorities. The purpose is to coordinate society’s crisis management.
Critics have during the day pointed out that the text message lacks a link to the website where you can read about the advice. This is for security reasons, according to MSB.
Morgan Olofsson, communications director at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), explains that the agency was commissioned to arrange the text message on Thursday.
– Our task was to collaborate with those affected, he says.
The Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) has worked with the telecom operators, and the Swedish Public Health Agency has been responsible for the content, he says.
That the message is short, and does not contain any concrete advice, he explains with a lack of space.
– We have received a number of signs that were at our disposal.
He admits that there have been challenges. Like that the message is only sent in Swedish, that it is short, and that it lacks links. He does not want to talk about MSB being critical of sending the message.
– This is a government assignment, and there are challenges and limitations. But regardless of that, we think it’s worth it, if we can just get someone to follow the rules.
He believes that people find the information, and also goes to the site krisinformation.se, to which the message refers.
– Traffic has doubled there today.
But the question is what the work with the text message cost the authorities.
– A whole lot of hard work from talented employees with us and PTS. But no tax money.
The question is, however, whether that wear and tear could have been spent on better information efforts.
– This is not done unnecessarily. If it is the case that it helps someone, it is worth the effort, says Morgan Olofsson.
“Warns all the time”
Jan Olsson, crime commissioner at the police’s national fraud center, tells TT that he is “grateful” that the text message did not contain any links.
– We constantly warn never to click on links in text messages, because you can get in touch with malicious codes. It is better to send a reference to a website in the text message, even if it may not feel as user-friendly, says Jan Olsson.
There is also a risk that criminals in the future could use a text message from authorities to commit criminal acts, by sending out a similar text message themselves, he says.
“Few learn to go to krisinformation.se”
Patrik Westander, PR consultant at the PR agency Westander, is not as positive about the lack of a link in the message.
– I think that there are few who will go to krisinformation.se and there are certainly many recipients who wonder why it is not sent with a link to the website. It is good to be concise but this was too concise, says Patrik Westander.
– It is also strange that krisinformation.se does not feel updated either, he continues.
However, he is all the more positive that the text message has been sent out now.
– It’s better late than never. It is good that the authorities are testing new communication channels. We are all telephone operators and sending out so many text messages is great, says Westander.
He also points out that an important part of the communication has been to communicate in advance that the authorities would send out the text message, which they did last week.
The text message from the Swedish Public Health Agency and MSB
The text message from the Swedish Public Health Agency and MSB was sent to 22 million Swedish mobile subscriptions. The purpose was to draw the Swedes’ attention to the new stricter national councils that apply from today to slow down the spread of covid-19.