Anonymous takedown of Facebook a mainstream media mishap


For millions of Facebook users who suffered from social media withdrawal late last week as the world’s largest social media network experienced disruptions, all is now calm.

Access to your Facebook account should be fully restored.

Contrary to numerous mainstream media reports, the loosely associated hacktivist group “Anonymous” was not to blame. Anonymous did not attack Facebook nor at anytime did it ever claim responsibility for attacking the world’s largest social networking service.

The mainstream media simply got the story wrong and are now jumping through hoops to correct themselves.

The Washington Post, CBS News, Forbes, PCWorld, New Jersey Newsroom and RT.com all reported that Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking down Facebook on Thursday. The evidence offered to substantiate these reports came in the form of two distinct tweets from YourAnonNews celebrating the news that Facebook was down.

One tweet said, “Looks like good old Facebook is having packet problems,” followed by another tweet: “Oh yeah … RIP Facebook a new sound of tango down ….”

Facebook previously confirmed that the temporary outages experienced by users were not the result of a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack.

“Some users briefly experienced issues loading the site,” stated Michael Kirkland, a Facebook spokesman. “The issues have since been resolved and everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

The Next Web is reporting that they have also confirmed Anonymous was not responsible for disabling Facebook, stating: “A Facebook spokesperson told us: ‘Last night’s outage was not the result of a DDoS.’”

If a DDoS attack was not responsible for taking down Facebook, it is highly unlikely that Anonymous was responsible given the fact that a Distributed Denial of Service attack is the weapon of choice for the Anonymous hacktivist.

Celebrating Facebook’s misfortune on Twitter is not the same as claiming responsibility for that misfortune.

In an attempt to clarify its position, Anonymous issued a statement denying any responsibility for disabling Facebook while reassuring the public they have no interest in taking down the 900 million user social networking giant.

The following is an excerpt from that statement:

Anonymous Press Release – We Did NOT Attack Facebook

This morning (Friday, June 1) 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.

As this false report began to go viral in the mainstream media this morning, key Anonymous organizers from all over the world and in many countries gathered in the IRC channels we use to communicate. A quick poll of everyone present, representing a very broad spectrum of the global collective — quickly showed that no one in the actual Anonymous knew anything about an attack on Facebook. Most showed surprise because we all believed that we had successfully squashed the fail Op Facebook months ago, setting the record straight once and for all.

So having determined that no one in Anonymous knew anything about an attack on Facebook, we then turned our attention to the facts. We began with the statement released by Facebook. In that statement they indicated that they knew what the problem was, what it was that caused these service interruptions in various countries — and that it was an INTERNAL issue caused by a problem with some of their servers. Not only did Anonymous NOT attack Facebook, but there was no attack at all. Facebook IT’s were just having a bad day.

So what happened here? How did mainstream media get it so completely wrong? A careful analysis of the events this morning tell the story. It’s a story of lies, deceit — and mainstream media failing in it’s most basic journalistic obligations. None of which surprises us much.

Finally let us, while we have your attention — address the Anonymous attitude towards Facebook. The fact is that Anonymous has a love-hate relationship with Facebook. While we enjoy the power of social networking media to do our work, bring positive change to the world and spread our message — we utterly despise the current management of Facebook and it’s evil anti-privacy and anti-anonymity 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.

But that said, they ARE a personal and social media platform. One that has been used by these same activists to bring about much freedom and justice in this world. Anonymous has certain core principles, and one of those is that we NEVER attack the media — even media we strongly disagree with. There is NO Op Facebook, and there NEVER was. Anonymous did NOT attack Facebook, and we NEVER will.

SIGNED — Anonymous

Anonymous Operations

Peoples Liberation Front – www.PeoplesLiberationFront.net irc.voxanon.net #VoxAnon

Reliable Twitter Accounts: @AnonPublicRel @PLF2012 @Doemela @DiscordiAnon @AnonyOps @AnonMedics @AnonOpsSweden (NOT exhaustive, just examples)

The reporting by numerous mainstream media outlets that Anonymous was responsible for bringing Facebook down speaks volumes to the power of social media.

Jumping to an erroneous conclusion based upon the power of an internationally known Internet hacktivist collective group and the influence it wields in contemporary affairs can certainly bolster a slow news day.

Facebook will live to see another day.