Anonymous vs. Facebook … fact or fiction?

The internet seems to be buzzing with word that ‘the gloves are off’; hacktivist group, Anonymous, has essentially thrown down the gauntlet to networking behemoth, Facebook, announcing its destruction on November 5th.

Has it … really?

It does seem, prima facie, to be ‘a bridge too far’ for Anonymous. Facebook isn’t so much a centralised target, inasmuch as it is a global, multi server entity. Bringing it down would incur the wrath and the anger of literally millions of Facebook users, worldwide. In terms of a legitimate Anonymous Operation, it doesn’t have the right ‘feeling’.

Then there is an issue of timing; why announce an anonymous hacking exercise and give two months notice?

Then there is an article of interest on Gawker, which may shed some light on the issue. The Gawker “exclusive” headline reads;

Hacker Plot to ‘Kill Facebook’ Is All a Terrible Misunderstanding

… followed by the following explanation and article;

The internet is quaking with the news that the hacktivist collective Anonymous plans to “destroy” Facebook on November 5th. We spoke to the Anonymous member who was there at the start of “Operation Facebook,” and he told us the whole thing is a misunderstanding that’s spiraled crazily out of control.

An alternative version of “Operation Facebook” is then laid out, citing an Anonymous spokesperson, Speakeasy, as the source;

An Anonymous member named Speakeasy laid the whole story out in a document posted to Pastebin today. In an IRC chat today, Speakeasy said that “Operation Facebook” was launched months ago by him and about 10-20 other people in a room on the Anonymous chat server. However, their goal was not to “destroy” Facebook. The main purpose was to “bring awareness to Facebook keeping data even after you delete an account,” Speakeasy said. (Facebook saves your personal information and continues to use it for data mining even if you delete your account.)

I don’t think there is any doubt of the dangers of social network sites such as Facebook. The issues of privacy, personal data mining, use by third party surveillance agencies, intelligence agencies and other Alphabet Soup Agencies is very well documented. Members of Facebook, and similar, have volunteered more personal data than any of these agencies could ever have dreamed of securing by their own means, which is exactly why Mark Zuckerberg has been able to cash in to such an extent he has, and why he also has multiple agreements with numerous international agencies, regarding the use of the data Facebook now holds.

I also suggest that Anonymous is a legitimate association of people who have simply ‘had enough’, and feel a sense of ‘belonging’ in a group of armchair activists. The Keyboard Warriors street demonstration.

If nothing else, “Operation Facebook” has gained mainstream media exposure to Anonymous, and inadvertently also brought some much needed attention to Facebook’s use of private information. In a way, the misunderstanding and disinformation regarding “Operation Facebook” has actually done what had originally been intended; to promote Anonymous and to bring attention to the actions of Facebook pertaining to privacy of its members.

There’s something refreshingly cathartic about that.

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