You may or may not have heard of the “group” Anonymous, recently. Chances are, if you have only recently heard of them it was from some media outlet. I have been curiously following them and their antics for the last couple of years, and one thing that constantly bothers me is the media’s complete ignorance in defining them.
Fox News coined them the “Internet hate machine,” much to their humor. On the other end of the spectrum, they have been called an “Internet vigilante group” by news stations for the work they did that lead to the capture of a pedophile last year.
So who are they?
Anonymous isn’t really a group, it is a concept. There are no members or leaders. People come and go. They are nameless Internet users who typically come from sites like 4chan (or any of the various *chans), Encyclopedia Dramatica and to a much lesser extent Something Awful.
On the popular *chan sites, posting is done anonymously and users can share stories and images. In the past, people have grouped up to certain ends. Usually “raiding” certain Web sites like Habbo Hotel, Deviant Art, YouTube and MySpace.
I have seen these raids be both cruel and productive in nature. I have seen them call out Deviant Art users for tracing and plagiarism. The Habbo raids were in response to moderators on the Web site being racist. I have also witnessed incredible cruelty to a disabled girl who danced on YouTube.
Anonymous is like a social experiment. What happens when people have complete freedom and anonymity? Of course, some will use it for good, some will use it for bad and most will use it for a combination of the two. For the most part, everything is done for laughs.
As a whole, people who associate with the anonymous ideal do not tolerate suppression of free speech.
This is where the Scientology Raids have come into play and why I chose to post about this today. I could spend awhile telling you about this but I found a very good video which sums up what has happened and what is happening today:
For the first time, Anonymous has truly come together (of course there are many Anonymous who disagree with these raids as well, like I said Anonymous is not simply a group) and stepped away from their keyboards en masse.
Today, the streets of major cities may be seeing masked peoples from all walks of life protesting, for the second time, the global scam known as Scientology. Now, their anonymity is being used to protect them from Scientology’s “fair game” policies against those that oppose them.
To follow the story from their point of view, visit: http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/Ides_of_March