Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

Summary: Notorious online collective Anonymous ("hacktivists") have vowed to destroy Facebook this November 5. Is Google Plus partly to blame?


The notorious, indefinite online collective Anonymous (often called "hacktivists") has drawn a parallel between Facebook and totalitarian governments, vowing to "destroy" the Wal-Mart of social networks on November 5.

UPDATE: It now seems like "Operation Facebook" is not wholly supported by Anonymous and reports are in conflict; some do and some don't. For the new developments, read Anonymous does not support killing Facebook on November 5. /UPDATE

According to their press release on YouTube and the transcript on Village Voice, Anonymous plans to "kill Facebook," the "medium of communication we all so dearly adore."

The statement of intent cites privacy issues for Facebook users as their main impetus for turning November 5 into a Facebook Gunpowder Plot:

Operation Facebook

DATE: November 5, 2011.


Press: Twitter : Irc.Anonops.Li #OpFaceBook Message:

Attention citizens of the world,

We wish to get your attention, hoping you heed the warnings as follows: Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy.

Facebook 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. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your "privacy" settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you "delete" your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more "private" is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family.

You cannot hide from the reality in which you, the people of the internet, live in. Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause. You are not safe from them nor from any government. One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you.

The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent. It's unfolding because people are being raped, tickled, molested, and confused into doing things where they don't understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of and hides the details away from them "for their own good" while they then make millions off of you. When a service is "free," it really means they're making money off of you and your information.

Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history. November 5 2011, #opfacebook . Engaged.

This is our world now. We exist without nationality, without religious bias. We have the right to not be surveilled, not be stalked, and not be used for profit. We have the right to not live as slaves.

We are anonymous We are legion We do not forgive We do not forget Expect us

Facebook is widely known for its issues around user privacy - most notably, that they're terrible with it.

The list of Facebook's privacy failures and transgressions is lengthy and probably not complete, including Danah Boyd's Harvard/UC Berkeley paper Facebook's Privacy Trainwreck to frequent changes to user settings without notification, to new issues raised by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

But there are two recent events that may have brought Anon's scrutiny to the fore.

Facebook, Anonymous, name wars and the Google+ Effect

When the Google+ excitement first hit, Anonymous set up a profile on the service. Like many others soon to follow, they were banned under Google Plus' "real names" policy. This policy continues to be an unresolved thorn in Google Plus' side, even yesterday prompting this Who Else Did Google+ Ban Today? page.

In reaction, Anonymous said they would set up their own social network where anonymity was the standard. Called AnonPlus, it was just hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army in a retaliatory attack.

As we all know, the Google+ name policy has spun out of control with a huge debate over real names and user privacy and safety becoming a lightning rod for all factions.

Google+ dug in their feet while accusations of favoritism went unanswered, they clung to their policy and continued the bans, and the situation simply grew worse. I consider it a particular violation that Google+ has asked for copies of user's government ID's.

In Google's Antisocial Behavior, banned and then re-banned user Doc Pop details an unbelievable scenario, one that he and many others have endured to not only reclaim their Google+ profiles, but access to other Google services as well:

It’s been 14 days since you suspended my access to Google Reader, Data Liberation, Google Profile, and various other services because the name I signed up to Google+ with didn’t sound right to you.

When I first filed my appeal you told me that my name violated Google+’s Terms Of Services, which simply stated that I needed to “use the name that I commonly go by in daily life”, so I responded with newspaper articles (Village Voice, Wall Street Journal, etc) and statements from past employers that verified my daily name (or common law name) has been “Doctor Popular” for more than 12 years. Despite all this evidence, your support staff told me the only way to regain access to my accounts was to send in a copy of my government issued ID.

Vic Gundatro (Google’s Senior VP Social) isn’t using his “real” name and Natalie Villalobos (Google+ Community Manager) stated on this thread that “providing a government ID is an optional part of the Common Names process and our reviewer is incorrect when he says that he needs a government issued ID to confirm the name.”

Currently I’m still locked out of various Google Services because of a TOS that I didn’t actually break. I’ve sought help through email, on the Google Support forum, and even tried writing your community managers directly (through Twitter and email).

I’ve sought out help of other jilted lovers. I’ve held a couple of “Banned by Google” meetings in SF and have heard stories of people getting suspended, submitting their ID, and being told the name on their ID was not acceptable and their appeal was denied. Newly banned users are still being required to provide ID. Your support forum is filled with hundreds of folks using their birth names and unable to get their accounts reactivated. At this point, the first thing folks probably hear about Google+ is that if you sign up for it, you may permanently lose access to other Google Services.

Meanwhile, author of the groundbreaking Facebook privacy cold shower Facebook's Privacy Trainwreck, Danah Boyd, wrote [Google Plus] “Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power.

An online movement has begun from this, sprouting up in various places in in many forms - raging on Twitter under the hashtag #nymwars and on sites such as My Name Is Me.

As it happens this 'circle' does indeed lead back to Facebook. Before her resignation, Mark Zucekrberg's sister and then-Marketing Director Randi Zuckerberg voiced Facebook's stance on the matter. If you're like me and you value privacy, it was possibly one of the most chilling statements on the topic thus far.

Speaking last week on a panel discussion about social media hosted by Marie Claire magazine, Randi Zuckerberg said,

I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.

Randi Zuckerberg has since left the company so that she can start her own social network advisory company where she will likely be advising companies, that anonymity must "go away."

Personally, as someone that has had their share of invalid Facebook page deletions, I'm always ready for Facebook to 'go away' as the social network has conditioned me to expect them (and competitors like Google+) to pull the rug out from under me and my communities with no notice.

In V For Vendetta, the Guy Fawkes character attempts to bring down the totalitarian government and convince the people to rule for themselves.

Is this what social networks like Facebook and Google+ have become?

Something tells me it's going to be tough to do what anyone here wants to accomplish.

Image via LAist.

Topics: Google, Legal, Security, Social Enterprise

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  • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

    This is the best news I've heard this year. Fakebook is a cancer eating away at society.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day


      Wage war on anything that restricts freedom.
      • Message has been deleted.

      • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

        @josh92 Don't forget; wage war against anything you oppose, while hypocritically attacking others who do as you do, namely what they think is best, without considering the choices people make for themselves.
      • Freedom for whom? Freedom to do what?

        The word "freedom" by itself has become a glittering generality that can be twisted to mean almost anything.

        If you want to make (real, not rhetorical) war against anyone who restricts "freedom" as you define it, expect to call a prison cell home in short order.
        John L. Ries
    • Hell yeah

      @pokocenje Bring that cancerous site down.

      Down with the face book!
      Tommy S.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

      @pokocenje Down with the face book!!!

      Its a NSA front anyway.
      Tommy S.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day


      Great! Yeah, lets each choose what we don't like and then openly call for groups of people to conduct illegal actions to cause harm to lawful businesses.

      Sounds just like London as of late.
  • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

    @archetuthus <br><br>The feds already have all that info and don't ask permission to gather it. Google has even more. <br><br>You "are" the naive person these hackers are trying to wake up.<br><br>But I say, so what? Stupid is as stupid does. "Online" is a public place regardless of any so called security settings your fooled into believing in. Anything you do here is public knowledge, whether you intend it to be or not.<br><br>If your doing something wrong, it is wrong even if no one finds out. And if the right people do find out, maybe they'll actually stop you.<br><br>If it will stop one child from being molested, one kid from bullying another into suicide, or one terrorist from harming others, i'll give up 100% of my privacy. How about you?<br><br>If everyone single person on earth knew everything single tiny thing every other person did, we would all quickly tire of paying attention and get on with our own lives and, we'd live in a much better place.<br><br>@Antisec You should focus on revealing the "corruption" in our own government. Focus on the farmers instead of focusing on the cows in the pasture.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day


      Those who would surrender a bit of their freedom for security deserve neither.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day


      He said privacy, not freedom. There is a difference.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

      @Orangy, in a day and age where employers, govts are likely to judge you on there own standards, privacy is freedom.
    • Well, Spock was pointing out that this is the same mentality

      and I have to agree with him.
      The rioters in London are using an excuse to destroy- A furniture store in business for 5 genereations destroyed (burned to the ground). Why? because they deserved it? there was no connection, they employeed people, they sold goods, yet for being an innocent bystander, they're gone.

      Now you have criminal cyber-gangs trying to do the same thing to Facebook using "privacy" as an excuse to destroy.
      Are they going to do it to save us from ourselves?

      Or are they jealous little kids that have no social skills, money, or lives, mad because a little college project that someone else thought of grew into an 80 billion dollar business.

      Like in the London riots, it's just an excuse - but of cours [b]someone[/b] here will be dumb enough to honestly believe that this is some sort of "civil disobedience".

      Just like they'll tell the store owners in London that "don't be angry at us for burning down your store, it's just 'civil disobedience', nothing personal"
      William Farrell
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

      Governments can only judge by the standard of law, and you employers can only judge by the rules and regs of the company. Follow the laws and rules and you won't have a problem.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

      @William Farrell - Very nicely stated. I agree with what you say there.<br><br>The problem with Annonimous, Lulzsec and any other "organized group" of people who claim they're doing things to save us from ourselves is that this is exactly the same reasoning and logic that politicians use to justify their actions. In my opinion, politicians and these "hactivist" groups are cut from the same cloth, using the same sissors and sewn to the same pattern. The only difference is the color of the thread.
    • anonymous, Lulzsec

      @William Farrell ... and here I thought they were just the same high school bullies and vandals that made our days there a living breathing hell (instead of a valuable learning experience) because no one could figure out how to remove them with extreme prejudice.
      Too Old For IT
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

      @Sqrly I was agreeing with you until you pulled the good old "its for the children" argument. You do nothing for the children by agreeing to a loss of privacy. When you do, the children you are trying to protect lost more than you can imagine. Our forefathers were very smart men and when they wrote the constitution they included the right to privacy for a good reason.

      @Orangy, privacy is a freedom. You can't have freedom without privacy.
  • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

    @archetuthus <br><br>I do not suport Lulsec at all, who were not politically motivated but "just did it for the lulz" but Anon is more or less a democracy. It is, as much as anything can be, the will of the people. The flaw in it of course is that Anon does not represent all people as a concensus but merely the fringe element who care to involve themselves in what is tantamount to cyber-terrorism which is an illegal activity. <br><br>There is nothing really "ironic" about the inevitability of this ""freedom-promoting" dupe-group", as you call it, being the excuse governments will use to further invade your privacy. This is no where near the riddle of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Anon would not exist but for the abuse of technology that has allowed governments and corporations to invade our privacy for their own purposes. <br><br>I find your Martin Niem quote to be highly appropriate but for the opposing argument to your thesis. Anon attempts to be the will of the people... but if the only people involved in the democracy that is Anon are the fringe, then you can expect that the rest of the people will sit idly by until Anon is no more... along with their freedoms that Anon tried to defend.
    • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

      What a stupid screed. They are criminals. Plain and simple. They do what they do for their own ends and wrap it up in a package of "freedom" to gain the sympathy of dolts like you. They are no different than the gangster who murders somebody on Saturday night and then gives out food to the poor in the neighborhood on Sunday morning (well, except that the gangsters actually give something away). You support criminals. That makes you either a fool or a dirtbag. I'll leave it up to you to decide which, but you will be saddled with one.

      What I find the most ironic is that most of you idiots who support the anarchist actions of groups like Anon regularly crack wise about the Tea Party, when they are a movement of people who are actually trying to bring about change the right way - through the ballot box. But what else would one expect from children? That's all you are, immature children who don't believe that the rules apply to you. Pathetic.
  • RE: Anonymous Vows Destruction of Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day

    @archetuthus you can't blame anon and lulzsec for the government trampling our rights. You can blame all the voters who put those cretins in officer.