Anonymous loves Facebook, hates Facebook

In order to set some media straight, Anonymous issues a statement explaining that it did not take down Facebook. However, the hacker collective explains its complex feelings toward the site, which include hate and a curious trust.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I know that some of you will still have your hearts near your tonsils after Thursday's devastation of a Facebook outage.

I know that you will have spent most of your waking hours wondering what might have happened and whether you could ever bear a recurrence of such pain.

Managing pain, though, is all about getting to the roots of the cause. Some immediately made the assumption that members of Anonymous might have been behind Facebook's sudden disappearance.

This was clearly fueled by Facebook's curious reluctance to declare why the site had malfunctioned. As my colleague Dan Farber pointed out, why so cryptic? Why, indeed, say little more than: "Oh, er, something went wrong. But it was in here. There was no attack. Honest"?

Some media pointed to the fact that Anonymous was mocking the outage on its Twitter feed, YourAnonNews. It must have been Anonymous, right?

But mockery and celebration are two quite distinct joys. So the hacking collective has now felt it necessary to declare itself fully with respect to the outage and, indeed, to its complicated relationship with Facebook.

I am grateful to the Examiner for bringing me this statement, one that reveals some deep feelings.

Released yesterday, the statement begins:

This morning it was reported by many mainstream media outlets that Anonymous had attacked the servers of Facebook and caused interruptions in service in a number of countries. We have investigated these allegations and have found them utterly false and without basis.

So there.

Anonymous continued by saying that it had thoroughly investigated among its members all around the world and that this had nothing to do with them. The organization is clear that it has distanced itself from previous suggestions by perhaps rogue members that Facebook would be taken down.

And yet this statement offers some curious emotions. Anonymous actually points to Facebook declaring that Thursday's outage was an internal problem as evidence that Facebook might be telling the truth. Which some might find generous.

Most edifying, though, is when the hacker collective explains its feelings about Facebook. It calls it a "love-hate relationship." Social networking is lovely, it says.

It's just that:

we utterly despise the current management of Facebook and its evil antiprivacy and antianonymity policies. We are also not at all happy about their cooperation with law enforcement and intelligence agencies in tyrannical countries around the world, including the USA. Facebook has much to be ashamed of, and has earned the hatred of all human rights and information activists.

So it's odd that Anonymous, of all loathing skeptics, accepts Facebook's vague explanation for this outage.

Still, the organization is clear that it does not attack media, even media of which it isn't fond.

The statement concludes:

There is NO Op Facebook, and there NEVER was. Anonymous did NOT attack Facebook, and we NEVER will.

All right then.

Over to you, Facebook. What really happened? Oh, go on. You can tell us. We're the public. And you're, um, a public company.

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