By Frank Herr –
Facebook may cease to exist if the rumors of the technology-hacking group, Anonymous, are true. Months after their warning of the destruction of the most popular social networking site for teens, November 5 may be the end of Facebook.
A recording on Youtube of the Anonymous group threatens the demise of Facebook saying, in the synthesized voice used to release statements, “The medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed, we will kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy. Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information to security firms so they can spy on people from all around the world.”
Not everyone at Penn Manor believes the end of Facebook, even temporarily, would be the end of the world.
“I think I would live. It’s nice to have a Facebook so you can communicate with kids from college, but I would live,” said Lauren Longenecker who communicates with her brother and friends away at school.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment this week on the alleged plot but information on the social networking site clearly states that it doesn’t share information with third party users that the member has not approved.
Anonymous has targeted many companies over the years. These corporations include Bank of America, Sony and various government sites. While supporting the WikiLeaks organization, Anonymous was responsible for overriding and shutting down the Bank of America. Even Oprah Winfrey’s television network was struck by the sophisticated hacking group.
The fifth of November may have been chosen because it also marks a holiday: Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in the UK, and marks the failed plot of conspirators who planned to blow up a ship, and kill King James I. Is there a correlation? Most likely.
But why Facebook? What has it done to deserve such threatening intimidation?
Anonymous has explained that the motive for taking down Facebook is that the service is corruptly performed. Privacy settings are not as secure as they say that they are. Just the fact that some users may be able to access information that is meant to be private is not what set off the hacking group.
The real bone to be picked is simply the fact that private information is promised to be secure. Because of what it says is Facebook’s false claims of information privacy, Anonymous believes that it is worthy of being hacked, most sources say to be completely dismantled.
This attack is referred to as “OP_FB”, most likely “Operation Facebook”, to those members of Anonymous who plan to participate in the hacking activities. As of November 3, 2011, a post on piratepad.net stated, “Ideas for OP_FB. Post ideas here guides. We are more powerful than DDoS attacks, and FB isn’t going to keel over from something so small. We have more power than this, and we should utilize it.”
This statement is most likely an open invitation to Anonymous members to share their opinions on how the communication powerhouse should be brought to its knees.
Despite the massive use of Facebook worldwide, the millions of users, most of whom would admit to be dependent on the service, some people seem to believe that their lives would proceed as usual, and in some cases, be better by the destruction of Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild.
“I wouldn’t care. I would get a lot more stuff done in my life,” said Penn Manor senior Matt Noll.
With such extensive use on Facebook, hours of free time may seem to grace a student’s busy schedule.
Ryan Martzall was not upset with the prospect of Facebook’s shutdown.
“I never get on Facebook, so I wouldn’t be heartbroken,” said Martzall.
Some people can actually see the benefits already.
“I would be pretty excited. (Facebook) is stupid. People would start communicating face to face more often,” said science teacher Erick Dutchess.
“We do not share your personal information with people or services you don’t want,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Post last year. “We do not give advertisers access to your personal information. We do not and never will sell any of your information to anyone.”
Anonymous is becoming better known of late as a collective of cyber hackers and politcal activists who they say are fighting to maintain internet neutrality and the free flow of information.
Because of there decentralized nature, they do not work from one location, they do not have a set of beliefs or principles and there is little accountability between members. They give all their members the freedom to act freely under the name of the “hive-mind.” However at times some members have angered others and they have launched attacks against each other in protest of their actions.
Anonymous has often worked under the radar of the major media, but after they showed strong support for the site Wiki Leaks organization whose leader Julian Assange was arrested last year. After Wiki Leaks released classified information last year embarrassing the U.S. government, there was heavy pressure to restrict donations to Wiki Leaks. The Bank of America blocked Pay Pal donations to Wiki Leaks.
Anonymous saw this as a threat to free internet speech and launched “denial of service” attacks on Bank of America.
Most of the attacks by Anonymous are against corporations that limit the free flow of information and governments that limit free speech. To some people’s surprise, their list includes targets within U.S. law enforcement and governments of Sweden, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt.
Anonymous will at first send a warning to their next target by releasing a statement or a video that all end with there famous motto:
“We are Anonymous
We are Legion
We do not Forget
We do not forgive
Expect Anonymous to make their presence known, maybe even this weekend.
Adam Rohrer, Alex Sanchez-Cruz, Amber Brenner and Eric Schlotzhauer contributed to this article.