The UK holiday known as Guy Fawkes Day has come and passed. Did Anonymous make due on its threats to attack Facebook, Fox News, and the banks on Nov. 5, as promised in the videos released under the group’s moniker?
Fox News and Facebook survived Nov. 5 untouched. The “attack” on banks was more of a social protest, done in solidarity with other groups, such as the Facebook group “Bank Transfer Day,” meaning its success was not dependant on the hacktivist collective.
The “raid” against Facebook was disavowed by Anonymous Operations repeatedly on Twitter in the months leading up to Saturday. AnonOps even went so far as to release a statement on Nov. 4 naming a young man in Ohio as responsible for the Operation Facebook’s call-to-arms video.
Released on Pastebin, the AnonOps statement went on to call the operation “phony,” adding AnonOps doesn’t “take kindly” to people trying to “disrupt” their “movement.” Hence the release of private information.
In an e-mail to CNET, the man named by the AnonOps release wrote the he was only responsible for the Facebook group: “I have been used as a scape goat, nothing more nor less."
The operation against Fox News, dubbed “Operation Fox Hunt,” also proved a dud, with no activity indicating any person tried to take down Fox News. The network itself never issued a report on the supposed operation, a wise move considering every other media outlet ran with the story.
"Operation Cash Back," the Anonymous operation against banks, was done the same day as the more mainstream operation “Bank Transfer Day,” which also called for people to move their money from large banks to local institutions or credit unions. "Operation Cash Back" was the only Anonymous operation endorsed by AnonOps.
It’s difficult to determine how many people were influenced by Anonymous to close their accounts with major banks, or if they were influenced by “Bank Transfer Day,” a Facebook group with almost 60,000 Likes.
“Operation Cash Bank” and “Bank Transfer Day” were done in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, and the social protest was widely reported on by the media solely as “Bank Transfer Day.”
In total, more than 650,000 people opened credit union accounts since the protest was announced in late September, according to numbers released by the Credit Union National Association before Nov. 5.
Determining the exact number of bank accounts closed is difficult, as “Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. are keeping mum on whether they’ve seen an uptick in account closures in recent weeks,” wrote a CBS affiliate in Boston.
Regardless of the root inspiration, this faceless group still worked together towards a higher goal—larger than their individual identity.
Photo by Sasha Y. Kimel