UPDATE: 5 a.m. EDT — Twitter Counter confirmed early Monday its services were hacked. The company said it is carrying out an investigation into the matter.
In order to prevent any further “abuse,” Twitter Counter said it has changed its Twitter app key and is currently not allowing any tweets to be posted through it.
Hundreds of Twitter accounts, including those of the European Parliament, Forbes, Amnesty International, and numerous other individuals and organizations, were compromised early Wednesday, possibly by Turkish hackers, as the diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands escalate.
Reports say the Twitter activity is the result of a hack into Twitter Counter, a third party analytics service for social media.
The Twitter handles affected include Reuters Japan, UNICEF USA, Canada Soccer, Nike Spain, Volkswagen India, University of Chicago, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Ohio, the Atlanta Police Department, PBS Foods, and Starbucks Argentina, among many others.
Many websites, including Forbes and Canada Soccer, saw the hackers change their pictures to the Turkish flag and other symbols.
The hackers posted a YouTube video that featured a montage of speeches by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Along with the video, the hackers wrote some text in Turkish, most significant of which was a reference to “Nazi Germany,” “Nazi Holland” and “see you on April 16th.”
The Dutch government reportedly forbade Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam for rallies aimed at encouraging Turks living in Europe to vote in a important referendum in Turkey. In addition to this, Dutch authorities also stopped Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam, causing Erdogan to accuse Sunday the Dutch government of behaving like Nazis.
The Turkish president said the Netherlands was pushing people to vote “No” on the referendum that seeks to grant him greater powers and reduce the stronghold of the Turkish parliament.
On Monday, the Dutch government warned its citizens against traveling to Turkey, as tensions between the two countries escalate.
“Since 11 March, 2017 there have been diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands. Stay alert across the whole of Turkey and avoid gatherings and crowded places,” the Dutch foreign ministry warned in statement Monday.
Turkish hackers reportedly targeted a number of Dutch websites after the fallout but the latest hacking comes just as the Netherlands goes to vote in a crucial legislative election Wednesday.