The Internet buzzed with malicious glee Tuesday after a video surfaced claiming that hacktivist group Anonymous plans to “kill” Facebook on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day.
“Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed,” said the video’s computer-generated voice. “If you are a willing activist 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.”
According to the video, Anonymous’ primary complaint about Facebook is that the ubiquitous social network invades users’ privacy, uses their personal information for financial gain, and acts as an appalling spying machine that helps governments from around the world keep tabs on their citizens. Another complaint is that Facebook has been deleting accounts related to Anonymous.
The video, which was originally uploaded in the middle of July, seemed authentic enough, and the sentiments expressed by the digital voiceover stood in line with Anonymous’ widely publicized support for freedom of information, personal privacy and anti-government views. Problem is, the video is a hoax.
Skepticism about the video was first expressed by cyber security expert Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, who tweeted early today that the Operation Facebook attack “most probably is fake.”
(Interestingly, Kaspersky’s tweets about FacebookOp have since been deleted. Kaspersky has not yet responded to our request for comment on his reasons for removing the tweets.)
Kaspersky’s speculation about the authenticity of the video is supported by Anonymous-linked Twitter user @anonops, who tweeted that “#OpFacebook is just ANOTHER FAKE! WE DON’T ‘KILL’ THE MESSENGER THAT’S NOT OUR STYLE.”
After this post by @anonops, an number of Anonymous members contradicted the “fake” claim, saying that there is in fact a plan to attack Facebook, though it may not be related to the video.
Soon after that tweet, @anonops responded, saying, “#OpFacebook is being organised by some Anons. This does not necessarily mean that all of #Anonymous agrees with it.”
In other words, the video about Operation Facebook doesn’t appear to have been created by high-level members of Anonymous. But the idea to attack Facebook, on November 5 or otherwise, has been floating around amongst some members of the group. And at least a few Anons plan to wage some type of attack on the social network. What exactly that will entail remains to be seen.
Watch the video below:
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