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

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 3/15/2017 Jane Onyanga-Omara

© Provided by USA Today Dozens of Twitter accounts were hacked Wednesday 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 that it "temporarily lost control" of its account, but "normal service has resumed."

"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.

More:Do this one thing to protect yourself on Twitter

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."

Twitter acknowledged an issue tied to a third-party app was affecting a "small number of users," but did not specify if it was connected to this hack. Twitter also said the issue has been fixed.

The hack came amid a diplomatic spat between Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands, after Dutch and German officials barred Turkish ministers from campaigning in parts of their countries. Those actions led Erdogan to say "Nazism is alive" in the West.

Erdogan wants the assistance of Turks living in European countries to win next month's referendum. Turkey barred the Dutch ambassador from the country Monday and stopped diplomatic flights from the Netherlands from using Turkish airspace.

More:Why more of us suddenly care about the Dutch election

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