On the morning of the 15th March, the University of Westminster’s Twitter account was compromised by a third party application. A tweet in Turkish was sent out that translated to “Nazi Germany, Nazi Holland. Meet you April 16.” The tweet was taken down after almost 40 minutes.
“Our corporate Twitter feed was one of hundreds of accounts hacked this morning through a third party app, Twitter Counter. As soon as the hack was discovered the unauthorized tweet was removed and we have taken steps to increase our online security”, said a spokesperson for the university.
The university uses a third party application called ‘Twitter Counter’ to tweet regularly. ‘Twitter Counter’ was hacked and thus the accounts using it were compromised, the University of Westminster being one of them. The tweet included Turkish flag emojis and swastikas.
many hundreds of accounts hacked in this #Nazialmanya hack; it's in Turkish, says 'Nazi Germany' and 'Nazi Holland' and 'see you April 16th' pic.twitter.com/SOIsaYx1Sh
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) March 15, 2017
Sky News reported that other high profile and prominent Twitter accounts were also hacked, including Amnesty International, UNICEF USA, French Politician Alain Juppe, and the UK’s Department of Health. Twitter issued a statement saying, “We removed [Twitter Counter’s] permissions immediately. No additional accounts are impacted.”
This tweet comes out on the day of the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands. There have been increasing clashes between the Dutch and the Turks during campaigning. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke off diplomatic ties with the Netherlands, describing them as “Nazi remnants”, explaining the tweet.
The date of April 16th will see the Turkish parliamentary referendum, an election to change the parliamentary system to a stronger one.