Swedish Social Democrats’ Twitter account hacked

Logo of Swedish Social Democrats modified after hackingImage copyright Twitter
Image caption Hackers also added the Bitcoin symbol to the political party’s logo

Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party is investigating after its official Twitter account suffered a hacking attack overnight.

Social media users were alerted to the hack by a stream of unusual activity, including anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric.

One post also claimed PM and party leader, Stefan Lofven, would resign.

It is unclear who was responsible for hijacking the account but the police have been informed.

What happened?

Early on Monday morning social media users noticed a string of odd tweets sent from the Social Democratic Party’s Twitter account.

More than 20 tweets on a range of topics were shared before the party regained control of the account.

The tweets were subsequently deleted from the account’s timeline.

“We contacted the police immediately and are working with Twitter,” a party spokesperson told the BBC.

“Attacks on political parties are attacks on free speech and democracy. We do everything we can to prevent these kind of intrusions.”

What did the posts say?

The hijacked account made a number of false assertions and touched on far-right issues.

It also claimed the Swedish prime minister, party leader Stefan Lofven, would resign, that cannabis had been legalised and that Sweden’s official currency had been replaced with Bitcoin.

The account shared a screenshot of a direct message it claimed to have sent to Social Security Minister Annika Strandhall.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption “You are fired,” the message reads in Swedish

Interspersed with the claims was anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric.

“One like equals one dead Muslim,” read one tweet sent from the account.

“Celebrate that we have reached a record number of rape victims with raising taxes and opening up the borders. Socialism for the win,” another post read.

Another expressed support for the anti-immigration politician, Hanif Bali.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionHanif Bali: The anti-immigration immigrant politician

Who’s behind it?

It’s unclear who hijacked the account or why.

“I do not want to speculate on what or who is behind the attack,” a spokesperson for the party told the BBC.

But the hack targeted a centre-left political party and used its platform to make threats against Muslims, criticise immigration and joke about firing a prominent feminist. It’s entirely possible it’s the product of trolling, but if so this is trolls reflecting far right views.

Since 2015, when more than 163,000 people submitted asylum applications at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis, the Scandinavian country has become a regular fixture in international far-right discussions.

The nationalist Sweden Democrats have become a more pronounced electoral force, capitalising on widespread insecurity about immigration.

The party won 18% of the vote in the 2018 election, up from 13% in 2014.

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