Posted by: David Harley | August 10, 2011

Facebook and the bonfire of the vanities

There has been a series of hoaxes announcing that Facebook will be closing down (temporarily or for good), or deleting your account, or starting to charge its customers, and so on. Not to mention the “researcher” who kindly made sure that information relating to incautious Facebook users was available in one convenient spot so that anyone could download and misuse it. Here’s a closing down story with rather more substance to it.

Hat tip to the estimable Richi Jennings for drawing our attention to the fact that Anonymous has announced that it will “kill” Facebook on November 5th (Guy Fawkes night: that date isn’t accidental) in order to punish it for selling information to government agencies et al. Guy Fawkes, sometimes described as the only honest man ever to enter Parliament, attempted to radically reform the UK political system by blowing it up. I don’t suppose that they actually plan to use explosive on Mr Zuckerberg and his minions: Antisec weapons of choice are generally defacement, DDoS or the apparently random publishing of sensitive data relative to (mostly innocent) members of the Internet-using public. Or a combination thereof. Further leakage of user data might look a little understated for a “killing”, but I guess it could cause substantial damage to Facebook if users started an exodus.

The fact is, though, we don’t really know what, if anything, is going to happen. Or when, if it comes to that. The Anonymous and related groups are too fragmented to be sure of the source of the YouTube video, let alone the real motivation and intentions behind it. Confusion and misinformation are also characteristic of the current wave of “hacktivism”.

But at least we are assured that whatever is being done by “the rulers of the internet”  is for our own good, and one day we’ll thank them for it. I can think of a number of governments with a similar philosophy. I’m not sure it’s good PR to be associated with them.

Small Blue-Green World/AVIEN
ESET Senior Research Fellow


  1. […] ChainMailCheck: “Facebook and the Bonfire of the Vanities” […]

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