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Twitter suspends Anonymous account that outed wrong man for Ferguson shooting

Seventy-five thousand people need to get their false information elsewhere.


Kevin Collier

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 14, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 6:42 pm CDT

Twitter has suspended the popular Anonymous account that falsely identified a Missouri man as the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

@TheAnonMessage, an already popular account that skyrocketed from 67,000 to at least 75,000 followers on Thursday, has been silenced.

Screengrab of the account soon before the suspension.

Twitter refused to comment to the Daily Dot whether it suspended the account on its own accord or at the behest of police. It did, however, point to its basic rules, which does prohibit posting others’ private information.

TheAnonMessage blamed the death of Brown—a tragedy that has turned his hometown of Ferguson into something resembling a war zone—on a man police say isn’t even an officer in the area. Not only did the account release that man’s name, it also tweeted photos from his Facebook account, and had promised to release more information on him, including his home.

According to another popular Anonymous account, @crypt0nymous, said that the two had been involved in an IRC chat together discussing whether they had named the right man, and that they both had their doubts.

Full chat logs will show that @TheAnonMessage wasn’t sure about it. In case of a fail, another person who goes by a default irc nick.

— Anonymous (@Crypt0nymous) August 14, 2014

Of course, this is neither the first nor last time Twitter has suspended an Anonymous account, and the same user or users behind TheAnonMessage has a backup. That account hasn’t tweeted anyone’s personal information as of this writing, but it has called the suspension of its more popular account “censoring.”

Censoring us is an act of war. #Ferguson #TheAnonMessage

— TheAnonMessage2 (@TheAnonMessage2) August 14, 2014

Illustration by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Aug 14, 2014, 1:43 pm CDT