Barcelona’s three official Twitter profiles were hacked on Tuesday, just hours after their 2-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League.
The La Liga giants were infiltrated by an organisation known as the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). The group used their short time in control of Barcelona’s Spanish, Catalonian and English accounts – which have a combined following of 21.3 million – to criticise the club’s links with Qatar.
Barcelona have been sponsored by Qatar Airways since the start of the season, and before then the Qatar Foundation between 2011 and 2013.
The three identical posts contained a link to the profile of the SEA and took more than ten minutes to be deleted, with the English language account being the last to be edited.
Followers of the English outlet will have also seen the Syrian activists post a more light-hearted message to Barcelona’s bitter rivals, Real Madrid.
The Syrian online activists have since claimed that the posts were deleted by Twitter rather than Barcelona’s social media team.
The fact that the SEA were able to hack three of Barcelona’s accounts simultaneously would suggest that either the club have the same password for each of their accounts, or more likely, the group infiltrated a Twitter client such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
This is not the first time the SEA have hacked a football-related Twitter profile. Last year the controversial group infiltrated the official accounts of Sepp Blatter and the FIFA World Cup.