Anonymous: Social Impact

By Margarita Williamson, Trending Writer

In 2008, Anonymous first introduced themselves to the world via YouTube to take on the church of Scientology. Anonymous is a secretive group of internet vigilantes that lack a spokesperson and identified leaders. Members of Anonymous refer to themselves as hacktivists. Anonymous is different from other hacking groups because they use their technological skills for specific causes. The group of hacktivists has been involved in a number of social justice movements that include Occupy Wall Street, the shooting of Michael Brown, and Iceland’s whaling industry. Their ultimate goal is to shed light on the misconduct of individuals and to bring justice by sharing information and shutting down websites. Recently, Anonymous has worked to expose ISIS and the KKK. Initially, the actions of the group were not well received with the public but now they are being praised for some of their work. There is still a distrust with Anonymous, considering that some of their members have leaked inaccurate information, the group has notoriously wreaked havoc, and their tactics to get what they want are questionable.

After the shooting of teenager Michael Brown in November of 2014, the KKK announced they were going to use “lethal force” against protestors in Ferguson, Missouri. Over an 11 month period, Anonymous worked to investigate and compile a list to expose members and supporters of the hate group. In October of 2015, Anonymous shared in a press release that they were going to release the names of up to 1,000 people affiliated with the KKK. In November, the group released a shorter list that included names of U.S. senators and local mayors. The list of names was immediately discredited.

Anonymous has also been in an ongoing cyber war against ISIS. Since the terrorist attacks in Paris, Anonymous has claimed to have removed over 12,000 social media accounts and websites linked to the terrorist organization. Anonymous told BBC News, “Our main goal in this operation is to identify the perpetrators of the Paris terror attacks and all terrorist organisations linked to them, acquire intel to dig deep into the roots of their manpower, disable their propaganda and stop their reach on social media, release their information to the public, and flag down any threat to mankind.”

It is important that people, who disrupt the peace, advocate for hate and have a disregard for human life and nature, are called out for their actions. Anonymous has worked to acquire and share information with the public that otherwise would be inaccessible. Their fight against corporate corruption, injustice, and government censorship is admirable. However, their blatant disregard for the law could be detrimental for the world.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 8th print edition.

Contact Margarita at
margarita.williamson@student.shu.edu

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