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Transcript of Anonymous:
What we know about Anonymous
Theory of Collective Action
Social Movement: “Can be viewed as collective enterprises seeking to establish a new order of life” (Blumer,1969, p. 99)
Resource Mobilization: Mobilizing Information and Anons in an decentralized cell network.
Call to Action: Highly fluid and adaptable use of information and communication technologies to mobilize.
Gladwell (2009): "Social networks are effective at increasing
—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires."
In general, Anonymous operates as a cell network.
Beehive mentality: Anons support each other in their causes, and work together as one collective unit.
Hierarchy: Small scale, top-down hierarchy with a small group of decision makers and hackers.
Network Ties: How is Anonymous structured?
Anonymous' Claim to Fame
2003: Started as a group on 4chan, and they began pulling hacking pranks on the site, seemingly for amusement.
2008: Project Chanology, their first real political act of activism, protested and hacked the Church of Scientology
The collective activist group known as Anonymous is an international organization that supports and participates in both social and political activism.
This is known as Hacktivism.
“Hacktivism (a portmanteau of hack and activism) is the use of computers and computer networks to promote political ends, chiefly free speech, human rights, and informationethics. It is carried out under the premise that proper use of technology can produce results similar to those of conventional acts of protest, activism, and civil disobedience.” Source: Krapp (2005)
What is Hacktivism?
2014: Operation Ferguson, which was spurred by the fatal police shooting of an African American man, Michael Brown.
2014: Operation ISIS, Anonymous declares cyberwar on terrorism.
Anonymous' entire existence relies on the use of technology.
1. Forums (on various sites)
2. SNS (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
3. Hacking requires extensive knowledge of technological security
Information Communication Technologies
2010: Operation Payback, Anonymous attacks PayPal, Visa and Mastercard
Criticisms of Anonymous
Ferguson: Anons released a name they thought was responsible for Michael Brown's death, it turned out to be the wrong person. Bryan Willman was not involved.
Risk of misrepresentation by members
Frequently referred to as "namefags" or "famefags" by Anons community, Christopher Doyan revealing himself to be Commander X is an example this. He was met with much criticism by Anonymous
Risk of extremism
The decision to release court documents in the Steubenville rape case was supposedly handled by one Anon; he said he chose to reveal both the accuseds' and the accuser's name in the spirit of transparency.
“We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us, always.”
Hacktivism is high-risk, strategic activism that produces real results by relying on a network of loose ties.
Participating in Anonymous
Free Riding: Non-Hacker Anons claim the fame
Participation: Two levels of participating- Hacker vs. Clicker
Latent Contributors and Personal expression
(Bimber et al., 2005) (Bennett and Segerberg, 2012)