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Operation Facebook is an Anonymous Operation that aimed to take down the social networking site Facebook in November of 2011. The announcement of the operation was met by extensive coverage from the news media and debates over its legitimacy during the months leading up to the proposed event, however, the plan never materialized.
On July 16th, 2011, a video titled “Message from Anonymous: Operation Facebook, Nov 5 2011” was uploaded to YouTube. Edited in the typical fashion of previous Anonymous communiques, the video begins by accusing Facebook of selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms, and urges other hacktivists to join their cause to “kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy.” While it didn’t explain exactly how the attack will be carried out, the message declared November 5th, 2011 as the day of attack against the largest social networking site in the world. The original upload has since been removed by the user.
Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history. November 5 2011, #opfacebook . Engaged.
News Media Coverage
In early August 2011, several tech news blogs and news publications began reporting on the proposed attack against Facebook. On August 9th, 2011, Business Insider highlighted the video in an article titled “Hacker Group Anonymous Vows To Destroy Facebook On November 5.” The article was posted to Reddit the same day and reached the front page with 2,285 up votes. On August 10th, CNN published an article titled “Hacker Group Vows to ‘Kill Facebook’”, comparing the operation to the failed DDoS attacks against the online retailer Amazon in December of 2010. The same day, Gawker editor Adrian Chen wrote an article titled “Hacker Plot to ‘Kill Facebook’ is All a Terrible Misunderstanding”, in which he argued that media outlets were sensationalizing an abandoned operation against the social network.
Also on August 10th, the tech news site Gizmodo published a post titled “Anonymous To Destroy Facebook on November 5th,” which reported that the campaign has been dismissed as an illegitimate operation by some members of the group in an Anonymous-run IRC channel. On the following day, the tech news blog Slashgear published a post titled “Anonymous Disowns Operation Facebook, Attack Talks Continue”, which cited tweets by Anonymous-affiliated Twitter accounts denying their connection with the planned Facebook attack.
SOPA / PIPA Strike
On January 24th, 2012, the LA Times published an article which highlighted a YouTube video claiming that Anonymous was planning a Facebook strike on January 28th, as part of the group’s protest against the online anti-piracy bills known as SOPA and PIPA. The YouTube video was taken down due to a copyright claim by Karen J. Sutherland shortly after. The article also pointed out that the @AnonOps Twitter account had denied any involvement in a Facebook attack the day before:
— AnonOps (@anonops) August 10, 2011
On May 5th, 2012, YouTuber FawkesSecurity uploaded a video titled “Anonymous #Operation Facebook 2012”, warning that Anonymous had discovered several tactics to successfully take down Facebook.
Anonymous Social Network
The Google Plus page for “Your Anon News” was banned from the social networking service on July 15th, 2011. This prompted Anonymous to announce plans to create the anonymous social network service AnonPlus, which would provide users with a platform free of censorship. Users can sign up to test for AnonPlus on the website LaunchPad.
Business Insider – Hacker Group Anonymous Vows To Destroy Facebook On November 5