A variety of prominent verified Twitter accounts belonging to top media companies and politicians spread messages containing swastikas and Nazi references a few hours ago. Twitter itself was not hacked, but a third-party tool used by these parties was breached by unknown hackers, who posted messages supporting the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to Bloomberg, the list of compromised Twitter accounts includes Die Welt, Forbes Magazine, BBC North America, and Reuters Japan. Similarly, accounts of the European Parliament, French politicians, and event Sprint’s CEO and President Marcelo Claure were used by hackers to promote the messages.
The tweets included hashtags in Turkish that read “NaziGermany” and “NaziHolland,” as well as a message that said “See you on April 16th,” and a video of Erdogan speeches. That’s the date of Turkey’s upcoming referendum to decide whether President Erdogan should be granted even more powers.
Erdogan has accused in recent weeks Holland and Germany of fascism, liking the European government to Nazis and Nazism. His remarks came after the two countries barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from attending rallies in Holland and Germany to campaign for Erdogan. A large number of emigre Turks live in Europe, mostly in the Netherlands and Germany, and Erdogan is looking to gain their support in the upcoming referendum.
Twitter Counter is an Amsterdam-based startup which appears to have been hacked. The tool lets Twitter users track the popularity of their tweets. Twitter Counter has more than 2 million users and tracks more than 350 million Twitter accounts.
The company confirmed that the app has been used to disseminate the pro-Erdogan messages and that it’s looking to fix the problem. This is the second attack targeting the app after a similar hack compromised the Twitter accounts belonging to Sony, Microsoft, Viacom, and others.
“Our app has been used. It’s pending further investigation,” Twitter Counter CEO Omer Ginor told Bloomberg “We are aware of the situation and have started an investigation into the matter.”
Twitter, meanwhile, said it removed the permissions related to the third party app that caused the problem.