By Ben Spielberg
For those of you who don’t know, Anonymous—an organization you probably never heard of—is planning to take Facebook down on November 5th, 2011 because Facebook continues to store many of its users’ privacy information. Due to recent headlines on the subject, we find ourselves confounded by the ironic question: Who is Anonymous?
Anonymous is something of a mob that began on a message board called 4chan around ten years ago and has persevered to go on both annoying hacking adventures and hugely important endeavors for social change. To illustrate, this is the collective that endorsed WikiLeaks and also the very same collective that uploaded pornography to YouTube and tagged the videos with Disney keywords. Would we still respect Martin Luther King Jr. if he had been a proprietor of both whoopee cushions and civil rights? While a silly dichotomy, the “organization” (very loose quotations) that calls themselves Anonymous represents the paradigm well.
Anonymous became a group for people with two interests in mind: hacking and social activism. Later coined “hacktivism,” this group was responsible for the whistle-blowing of a Bank of America fraud last March and an attack that brought down Sony’s servers because members of Anonymous felt that it was unfair for Sony to log their IP addresses.
In my quest to learn as much as I could about Anonymous in a very short time-span, I actually joined their chat room only to find a plethora of other large ‘sub’-chat rooms, with audiences ranging in anything from beginners (#OpNewBlood), to alcoholics, (#alcoholics) to hackers (#hackmob). I originally planned on joining, but then thought better of it— After all, I wouldn’t want somebody coming into my faceless organization just to pretend to believe in my unnamed cause! Thankfully, however, with just a bit more digging, I was able to unearth said Operation Facebook. The take-down plan is as follows:
- Step #1: Informing your own city what Facebook is actually doing by hanging posters around. From 15/08/2011 -> 22/08/2011 (dd/mm/jjj)
- Step #1.5: Inform your local media of your own country about Facebook
- Step #2: Inform world media (Fox News, NY Times, The Times, etc.)
- Step #3: Make fake FB accounts and massive invite strangers for a week or two
- Step #3.5: Inform every FB friend on what’s going on around FB. Make a wall about it or something.
- Step #4: Mass spam the internet about FB’s activities. Be createful, contact Google, contact Microsoft, spam on MSN, Yahoo, Skype or w/e, massive spam on games, Inform EVERYONE
- Step #5: Create an Anonymous Social Network site ourselves identical to FB, only difference is that everyone is Anonymous.
- Step #6: Convince everyone from FB to join our new network.
- Step #7: ??????
- Step #8: Profit
As you can imagine, this list left me with more questions than when I started. Why is there a step 1.5 and 3.5? Why don’t they just make 10 steps instead of confusing decimals? What is the point of making fake Facebook profiles? Also, what does createful mean?! Most importantly, what happens in step 7?
Unfortunately, when I found an e-mail address to ask a member of Anonymous these questions, they still, one month later, remain unanswered. Apparently, Anonymous is as exclusive as they are unknown. Oh well.
- ‘Anonymous’ to bring down Facebook on 5 November,2011. (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- Anonymous Calls On All Hackers To Destroy Facebook On November 5 [Video] (socialtimes.com)
- Anonymous threaten Facebook (vault9.net)