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News & Views

If you woke up and saw swastikas on Twitter, here's why

Dozens of Twitter accounts were hacked recently in an apparent large-scale cyber-attack.

Many of the hacked posts were in Turkish and featured a swastika and the hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda. Among the affected Twitter accounts were the European Parliament, UNICEF USA, BBC North America and boxer Floyd Mayweather’s promotional account.

The messages called the hacking a “little Ottoman slap” and said “See you on April 16” — the date of a referendum in Turkey on stronger powers for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A video in the tweet featured various speeches by Erdogan.

BBC North America tweeted:

“We are aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning,” Twitter said in a statement.

“Our teams are working at pace and taking direct action on this issue. We quickly located the source which was limited to a third party app. We removed its permissions immediately. No additional accounts are impacted. Advice on keeping your account secure can be found here,” it said.

UNICEF USA confirmed its Twitter account was hacked and said it was “deeply concerned that our social media platforms would be used to promote hate speech.”

“The offensive tweet has been removed. We are investigating the matter and working to ensure it does not happen again,” the organization said in a statement.

The attack was apparently launched via a vulnerability in the Twitter Counter third party app, tech website Gizmodo reported.

Twitter Counter, which was founded in the Netherlands and offers statistics and analytics services, tweeted: “We’re aware that our service was hacked and have started an investigation into the matter. We’ve already taken measures to contain such abuse.”

First appeared on USAToday

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