Anonymous: In It For The Lulz, Or Serious Political Organization? Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Community, Internet, Religion, Fun, Entertainment, Protest, Church, World

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/20

Recently, the internet hacktivist group Anonymous attacked the terrorist group ISIS by electronically destroying most of their online recruitment tools, including their Twitter and Facebook accounts (Hammill). Anonymous released a video explaining that they were “Muslims, Christians and Jews, hackers, crackers, hacktivists, phishers, agents, spies, or just the guy next door students, administrators, workers, clerks, unemployed, rich, poor” who were all aligned against ISIS (David). They taunted ISIS, and defined themselves as “young, or old, gay or straight from all races, countries, religions, and ethnicity. United as one, divided by zero” (David).
We will hunt you, take down your sites, accounts, emails, and expose you From now on, no safe place for you online You will be treated like a virus, and we are the cure We own the internet We are Anonymous; we are Legion; we do not forgive, we do not forget, Expect us. (David).
Anonymous is a loose affiliation of anarchic hacktivists that has its roots in the online site 4chan, which was created in 2003 (Mansfield-Devine, 14). Hacktivist is a combination of the words hacker and activist. The decentralized online community of people behind Anonymous has no leader, and are united behind a single cause and belief that corrupt individuals, corporations and organizations should be attacked.  The group is known for wearing Guy Fawkes masks, making online threats, publicity stunts and denial-of-service attacks (DOS) on various government, corporate, religious, and individual websites. For example, Anonymous took on the Church of Scientology, by attacking their websites, exposing confidential information and revealing embarrassing details about the church (Hammill). During the most common type of DoS attack, the attackers saturates the servers hosting the target website with multiple requests for information, increasing the consumption of computational resources to cause the server to slow down, rest or crash (Hampson 511).
Along with attacking corruption, the group is also focused on having fun, creating entertainment and engaging in pranks, which is considered "lulz". Anonymous has attacked many groups, including the motion picture and music industry, child pornography sites, and the Westboro Baptist Church – which is famous for going to veterans funerals and conducting grotesque protests, carrying signs that indicate soldiers deserve to die because of homosexuality. Anonymous could not have picked a more deserving subject for their attack. The more recent attacks on ISIS suggest that Anonymous picks targets that are almost universally seen as being corrupt or evil (Hammill). Anonymous also advocates for a free internet and opposes censorship (Mansfield-Devine).
However, there are some problems and inconsistences in their goals and methodology. Anonymous has been accused of being anti-Semitic, because they seem to have a pro-Palestinian agenda. Their #OpIsreal cyber-attacks on Holocaust Remembrance Day was an example of a controversial protests, which even supporters had trouble justifying (Mansfield-Devine). Some of their activity is criminal, and members across the world have been arrested for a variety of offenses (Mansfield-Devine). Some consider Anonymous modern day Robin Hoods, digital freedom fighters that stick up for the little guy against tyranny. Others call the group cyber-terrorists, and often the group seems to have a intense collective agenda that borders on mob mentality. There is also a great deal of in-fighting about whether Anonymous should focus on the fun (lolz) or concentrate on serious political and religious issues. Anonymous has no leadership. Therefore, no action can be attributed to the membership as a whole, which makes it hard to hold the group collectively responsible for anything. As an amorphous group, Anonymous operates as a collective, but the central tenant is pure anarchy, which is problematic – it is hard to take a group seriously when you do not even know who it is. Anyone can join, and anyone can call themselves a member of Anonymous. Anonymous has rules, including maintainanonymity, not talking about the group, and not attacking media.  There are, however, no real consequences for breaking the rules.
The right to protest is a fundamental element of free speech. Anonymous is allowed to broadcast their opinions, and while some of their actions are criminal, they are
using technology for democratic ideals. In "Hacktivism, Anonymous & a New Breed of Protest in a Networked World," Noah Hampson argues that groups like Anonymous and WikiLeaks are not going away, because “hacktivism is increasingly becoming a popular form of protest against perceived injustice.” Despite the structural problems of a group that anyone can join and conducts protests that pursue a wide variety of agendas and causes, Anonymous has mostly been a force of good in the digital age. There seems to be some collective norms that govern the group, which focuses on not taking anything too seriously, and targeting real “bad guys.” When Anonymous focuses on poking fun and “lolz” they show how effective they can be as a group. The Westboro Baptist Church are really misguided people who offend everyone’s sense of right and wrong. However, when the group attacks more serious and complex issues, like the Isreal-Palestine conflict, the group veers off course and the different ideologies of the members create a conflicted and weak message. Anonymous members are not in agreement if they want to be a serious political protest organization, or a group of people having fun pulling pranks on the internet. Ultimately, as Anonymous evolves, it may mature into something different or more concrete, but it seems to thrive when sticking to its core beliefs of anonymity, fun and attacking easy targets.

Works Cited

David, Zeidy. "Anonymous #OpISIS Proves Anti-ISIS Operation Is More Effective Than
U.S. War on Terror." Counter Current News. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. 
Hammill, Jasper. "Anonymous Hacktivists Prepare For Strike Against ISIS 'Supporters'" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 27 June 2014. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.
Hampson, Noah. "Hacktivism, Anonymous & a New Breed of Protest in a Networked World." Boston College International and Comparative Law Review35.6 (2012): 511.
Mansfield-Devine, Steve. "Anonymous: serious threat or mere annoyance?."Network Security 2011.1 (2011): 4-10.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 20) Anonymous: In It For The Lulz, Or Serious Political Organization? Essay Examples. Retrieved August 20, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/anonymous-in-it-for-the-lulz-or-serious-political-organization-essay-examples/
"Anonymous: In It For The Lulz, Or Serious Political Organization? Essay Examples." WePapers, 20 Dec. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/anonymous-in-it-for-the-lulz-or-serious-political-organization-essay-examples/. Accessed 20 August 2022.
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"Anonymous: In It For The Lulz, Or Serious Political Organization? Essay Examples." WePapers, Dec 20, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/anonymous-in-it-for-the-lulz-or-serious-political-organization-essay-examples/
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