Did Anonymous just threaten Facebook?

Anonymous is planning a cyber-attack on Facebook in two months, according to a video that’s going viral. We don’t know if the video is really from Anonymous – so should Facebook be worried?

Youtube.com / screenshot
A viral video claims that Anonymous will attack Facebook on November 5.

Anonymous vs. Facebook: what happens when worlds collide?

We might find out come November 5. That’s the date when the “hacktivist” collective Anonymous will wage war on the world’s largest social network, according to a video (attached below) that purports to be from Anonymous.

“Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed,” intones a robotic voice in the video, over a gray backdrop featuring the Anonymous logo. “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.”

Why hack Facebook? Apparently, the promised attacks are motivated by privacy concerns. The voice in the video alleges that Facebook “make[s] millions” by selling its users out: offering personal information to government agencies “so that they can spy on people from all around the world.”

The video doesn’t substantiate these claims, and it doesn’t say what form the attacks might take. In the past, Anonymous has gained notoriety for taking websites offline through Direct Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, in which servers are overwhelmed with a flood of requests for information – but Facebook’s servers are pretty robust, and there’s no indication that that will be the case here.

The video was uploaded on July 16 to a YouTube account called “FacebookOp,” and has recently begun attracting widespread attention. It’s tough to tell if the video is genuine, since Anonymous has an ephemeral structure with no single leader or spokesperson. Facebook, for its part, hasn’t made any indications that it is taking the threat seriously. The Los Angeles Times reported that the company declined to comment on the video or on the threat of attack come November 5.

The dated of the promised attack is significant: November 5 is Guy Fawkes Night, which commemorates the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in which Guy Fawkes and a group of English Catholics attempted to blow up London’s House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. Fawkes was arrested while guarding explosives beneath the building. Anonymous has adopted Fawkes as a symbol, and supporters sometimes wear masks bearing the stylized representation of Fawkes’s face, as made popular in the movie and comic book V for Vendetta.

What’s your take on the video? Is Anonymous really setting its sights on Facebook, or is this a bogus video? Let us know in the comments.

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