December 17, 2019 / 2:06 PM / 2 months ago

ABBA's Bjorn sends Sweden's students SOS on fake news

FILE PHOTO: Musician Bjorn Ulvaeus of Swedish pop group ABBA poses for a picture in Stockholm, Sweden May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Ilze Filks/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus has gifted books to high school students across Sweden to try to stem the flow of fake news.

The musician, who together with ABBA sold more than 375 million albums and singles, said the initiative came about as he felt democratic institutions were being undermined by the spread of misinformation.

Some 111,000 copies of the book “Alternative Facts - About Knowledge and its Enemies” will be distributed. Teachers have to request them on behalf of their final year pupils and the only caveat is that they be used in some way in class.

“It’s like something that they need - in our critical thinking and the trust of our institutions which is you know being eroded - and as a Christmas gift simply,” Ulvaeus, part owner of the publishing house behind the book, told Reuters.

The book was written by professor of theoretical philosophy, Asa Wikforss, who was this year elected a member of the Swedish Academy, which chooses the Nobel Prize in Literature.

“I start with the sort of very philosophical ideas about how incredibly easy it is to undermine trust that Bjorn was talking about because knowledge, human knowledge to a large extent depends on trusting sources,” she said.

Reporting by Ilze Filks and Philip O'Connor; Editing by Alison Williams

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