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Anonymous re-emerges from the shadows

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:58s - Published
Anonymous re-emerges from the shadows

Anonymous re-emerges from the shadows

The amorphous internet activist movement known as Anonymous staged an online resurgence in the past week on the back of real-world protests against police brutality.

Emma Jehle explains what you need to know about the group.

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Anonymous - that group of activists and hackers - is back, amid global protests against police brutality.

So let’s refresh on who, or what, Anonymous is.

Anonymous is a collective mostly known for its hacking exploits, but it has no central organization.

It has no acknowledged leader, either.

The only public face is its infamous Guy Fawkes mask, the British rebel forming its trademark grin.

And because anyone can call themselves a member, it has evolved into more of a brandname than a formal group.

That nebulous association also means that Anonymous has no real unifying mission - beyond wreaking digital havoc on those its members say need justice served.

Anonymous was originally born more than a dozen years ago on internet chat forums, and shot to fame for organizing basic, but effective, attacks to bring down websites or other online systems. So-called ‘hackvists’ have taken credit for attacking the CIA, Sony, PayPal, and numerous government websites, protesting anything from WikiLeaks to whaling in Iceland.

Over time it got bigger to include non-hackers as well.

The Guy Fawkes mask became a common sight at protests for various causes worldwide.

But they'd largely been away from the spotlight in recent years - until the end of May.

Longstanding Anonymous social media accounts began attracting millions of new followers and re-tweets, projecting them back into newsfeeds.

Many boosted tweets opposed police actions, defended Black Lives Matter, or faulted President Donald Trump.

And one of the accounts claimed credit for knocking a Minneapolis police website offline.

It is unclear who or what is driving the resurgence.

Even one of the heavily-boosted old accounts, YourAnonNews, said it had no idea what was going on.

Twitter said it had seen no evidence of “substantial coordinated activity” among longstanding accounts, but that some users try to associate with the group to gain followers.

Experts have said mechanical amplification is at play where a flood of new accounts are created, echoing its tagline: “We are legion.

Expect us.”




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