University of Chicago among thousands caught up in Turkish twitter attack

Staff Writer

The University of Chicago’s Twitter account was among thousands of accounts targeted in a mass twitter attack shortly before midnight on Wednesday, March 15.

A third-party app was apparently used to spread messages accusing the Dutch government of Nazi-style tactics against Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Twitter Counter, an app based in the Netherlands to analyze user data, was used to access accounts ranging from Amnesty International, Forbes and Reuters Japan to those of ordinary citizens.

Holland and Germany, the principal objects of this attack, have been vocal in opposing Erdogan’s attempts to enter Turkey into the European Union in the light of what are seen as his anti-democratic actions both domestically and on the international stage.

The messages, originating from a number of hashtags, featured Nazi imagery to accuse the two governments of using their influence against the controversial Turkish president, who faces a referendum on April 16 to extend his powers as president. Some of the Twitter messages referred to that date.

Marielle Sainvilius, director of public affairs at the University of Chicago, released the following statement :

“The UChicago Twitter account was compromised briefly last night along with other organizations, resulting in unauthorized tweets. Those tweets have been taken down and the account has been secured. We thank the UChicago community for reporting this issue to Twitter and alerting our social media team.”

The Netherlands experienced a similar attack aimed at an anti- Islamic politician last Saturday and Austria has suffered several such attacks last year after that country opposed Turkey’s entry into the EU.