Anonymous: Facebook's going down November 5

The notorious hacktivist group declares that Facebook is its next target. It chooses the symbolic (for Brits and those who love "V for Vendetta") date of November 5. The reason for the intended destruction? Why, privacy.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

The more Facebook seems to dominate the world, the closer it seems to be to its end.

Earlier this year, there was dastardly nonsense being peddled that Facebook would shut down March 15. However, now we have news of an apparently credible threat.

It comes from Anonymous, the interesting group of people who express their principles in an activist way by infiltrating the systems of the unsuspecting or the merely complacent.

The Village Voice has pointed me to an Anonymous press release that states quite unequivocally that Facebook is going to get it on November 5.

Should that date not be dear to you, it is the day when British people let off fireworks to commemorate Guy Fawkes, a man who felt the passionate need to detonate Britain's Houses of Parliament.

For those who haven't bothered with British history (short version: a lot of colonizing, eating meat, and pretending to be friendly), you might have seen Guy Fawkes immortalized in the fine movie "V For Vendetta".

A Vendetta against Facebook? CC Anonymous-Munich/Flickr

Anonymous' press release is candid to its core. It declares: "If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy."

It then offers an interesting accusation: "Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria."

There follows a hearty disquisition about how Facebook allegedly owns your information, regardless of whether you delete your account, and makes money from it.

Anonymous makes very clear which side it believes Facebook has made its bed and laid its skateboard. It says: "Facebook is the opposite of the Antisec cause. You are not safe from them nor from any government. One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right, you will thank the rulers of the internet, we are not harming you but saving you."

I know that, for many, Facebook will represent a slightly different target than those receiving the hacktivists' attention before--such as the International Monetary Fund, News Corp., or the Iranian government.

The question, though, on the lips of many, may be why Anonymous has given Facebook notice. You may also wonder whether Facebook is quaking, whether it has taken any precautions--and whether, perhaps, in the spirit of sharing, it has reached out to Anonymous to broker some sort of truce. (The offer of a super-duper fan page, perhaps?)

I have, naturally, reached electronically in Facebook's direction, seeking answers to these prewar questions.

It will be troubling if, come November 5, your Mom can't post pictures of the twins' birthday party. Are the hacktivists more powerful than the company that allegedly espouses "hacker culture"? That might make for a very good movie.

Update August 10 at 11:08 a.m. PT: Emil Protalinski at sister site ZDNet reports that while some Anonymous members may be looking to kill Facebook, the larger hacktivist group does not appear to support their cause. See "Anonymous does not support killing Facebook on November 5."