DATE: August 11th, 2011.
DATE OF THE OPERATION: November 5th, 2011.
Anonymous has voted to “destroy” Facebook on Nov. 5.
With the loosely affiliated hacktivist collective, it’s always tough to know what’s real, what’s a feint, and what’s a solo effort by some ambitious Anon to marshal the troops but if Operation Facebook is real, it could mark a new phase for Anonymous, which in recent weeks has joined forces with the remnants of the more tightly knit hacker group LulzSec to target law enforcement agencies in an ongoing operation called Antisec.
The “press release” announcing Operation Facebook does tie it in with Antisec, however.
“Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause,” reads the release, a full copy of which plus a video version is published below. Facebook, which “knows more about you than your family,” according to the press release, “has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world.”
The author exhorts others to “join the cause and kill [F]acebook for the sake of your own privacy.” The press release also includes links to an article about ACLU objections to Facebook’s privacy settings and another complaining about the social networking site’s use of smartphone data.
The Nov. 5 date is significant—that’s the date commemorating Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators’ failed plot to blow up England’s House of Lords in 1605. Though Guy Fawkes Day has historically been celebrated in England for the unraveling of that plot, Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta and a later film of the same name helped make Fawkes a sort of anarchist anti-hero in popular culture. Anonymous has a particular attachment to Guy Fawkes Day, with members donning V for Vendetta-inspired Guy Fawkes masks for some of the collective’s earliest known public actions, such as a project to discredit Scientology in 2008.
This is the message posted on PiratePad:
Another tweet from a few hours prior proclaims:
If the AnonOps Twitter feed is in fact run by the leaders of Anonymous, then this means that Operation Facebook is not actually a fake, but instead an operation created by a splinter group within Anonymous.
Anonymous’ internal organization, if there is one, is shrouded in ambiguity, which makes the entire situation harder to decipher. It could’ve been merely the owner of the Twitter feed who disapproves of Operation Facebook.
Gizmodo pulled a quote from a source on an Anonymous IRC chat board, which helps clarify how “ops” are created:
“Anonymous is a mindset not a group. Mindsets do not have leaders. With any given operation there are always some who agree and some who disagree. With opFaceBook specifically there are those that agree and those that disagree. Annoymous allows each person individually to vote on each operation, a yes vote means they participate, a no vote means they do not. Anyone is allowed to create an op and if others vote yes it will get traction and something may be accomplished.”