After the FBI discredited Anonymous’s claims that ISIS was planning to attack a WWE event, the loosely-connected hacker group is dealing with even more drama and controversy. Last week, the group boasted that they helped take down thousands of Twitter accounts they claimed belonged to ISIS members and affiliates. Now, many are questioning the validity of Anonymous’s information.
Anonymous ran code that singled out accounts for using specific types of language that would point to ISIS affiliation. However, a spokesperson for Twitter has called Anonymous’s lists “wildly inaccurate,” adding that the lists include journalists and academics.
In addition to posting the lists, Anonymous reported listed users to Twitter. Although some accounts have been removed for questionable content, other accounts only expresses ISIS sympathies, or merely were in Arabic. The sloppy fact checking by Anonymous is reminiscent to the group’s inaccurate KKK member list from earlier this month.
“Users flag content for us through our standard reporting channels. We review their reports manually and take action if the content violates our rules,” a Twitter spokesperson told the Daily Dot. “We don’t review Anonymous lists posted online, but third-party reviews have found them to be wildly inaccurate and full of academics and journalists.”
Anonymous’s total lack of organization allows anyone to act in the name of the group. The inaccuracies and disputed facts have torn the group apart and fractured it even further. Anonymous cannot even agree on the number of accounts it took down, ranging from 3,000 to 20,000. After the group declared war on ISIS, several distinct operations formed to hurt the terrorist group by disabling social media accounts and attempting to leak information.
Several different accounts claim to be the ‘official’ operation, and have been arguing with each other on Twitter. Each group accuses the other of spreading misinformation to promote the name of Anonymous. Well-known hackivist th3j35t3r (The Jester), who butted heads with Anonymous in the past, called their entire effort “a comedy of errors,” and posted a now deleted tweet (see below) from @OpParis, one of the largest Anonymous twitter handles, where the group admitted that the Twitter list may not be 100% accurate.
Anonymous’s lack of organization is its defining characteristic, as theoretically anyone with a computer can join the effort. However, this has also led to a lack of clarity and definition, making it a completely unreliable source of secret information, since anyone could act in the name of the group to push any agenda they wish.
Featured image via Twitter