We should have expected Anonymous.

New Alternate Timeline

If you’ve been feeling like we’ve shifted into a more bizarre version of reality, you’re not alone. A quick scroll through Twitter will show that the strange events this year cause people to believe we may have entered an alternate timeline.

Enter Anonymous

We’ve been seeing crazier and crazier events unfold online, almost too many to be probable. The green and black flickering media you saw on Twitter yesterday may not have helped this perception either:

Yes, the “online collective known as Anonymous” is attempting to re-emerge as a force against police brutality in 2020.

The video features the traditional Guy Fawkes mask-wearing entity in a hoodie. In the message, they describe themselves as hacker-men who will “hack bad people”. They talk about an oppressive regime (the police), who are using their position of power to oppress, not protect citizens.

The masked individual states that justice will not likely be carried out for George Floyd, nor for others who have suffered fatally at the hands of police.  Due to this abuse of power, Anonymous plans to expose “many crimes to the world” committed by law enforcement, presumably through doxing and hacking.

Others are not so sure…

Brief History of Anonymous

For those unfamiliar with the Anonymous history, they were born inside the popular cesspit known as 4chan’s /b/ in the early 2000s. Anon became known early on for raiding online networks such as Habbo Hotel, using identical black avatars to block the pool and preventing other users from entering. They even arranged  their avatars into a large swastika during one of the raids.

These antics intertwined Anonymous with trolling-culture communities like Encyclopedia Dramatica and Lulzsec.

Eventually, Anonymous moved away from edgy memeing and became associated with hacktivism. This shift notably began with “Project Chanology”, which targeted the Church of Scientology. Following a copyright battle by the church against Gawker, massive amounts of 4chan users calling themselves “Anonymous” retaliated against the Church of Scientology. They mostly carried this out with office pranks and DDoS/LOIC attacks against the church’s websites.

Later, Anons became synonymous with the Occupy movement. They also targeted and took down darknet services that hosted child pornography.

After years of protesting and taking down “bad people”, however, Anonymous eventually imploded. Hackers began snitching on one another. A notorious example of an Anonymous snitch was Hector Xavier Monsegur aka Sabu. Sabu was a Lulzsec hacker who became an informant for the FBI when faced with over 100 years in prison. He aided the feds in identifying other LulzSec members, which ultimately led to what’s been called the death of Anonymous.

The Comeback

Yet this new Anonymous video has garnered over 20 million views on Twitter. In our strange new timeline, will Anonymous make a comeback?

I think many of us hope not.

Update: Gabriella Coleman, an author that focuses on hacker culture, has made some interesting discoveries about the number of retweets the Anonymous accounts are generating. It appears Kpop accounts are responsible for a lot of the activity:

Why would Kpop accounts take an interest in Anonymous? Could the accounts be hijacked to retweet Anon accounts? Or could someone have possibly paid a Kpop bot farm to do the retweets?

Or perhaps Anon has just caught on with the Stans: