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BIGGER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK: The Size and Scope of Anonymous, Hacktivists

by Denise Simon
Clash Daily Contributor

Now that we are beginning to understand how big the hacker network is, what is the real agenda and mission of those inside the group? One cannot estimate, yet it appears to have many variances. Anonymous does get involved in policy issues and members and or sympathizers participate.
There is a documentary on ‘We Are Legion’.

How big is Anonymous? Maybe bigger than you thought.

By: CS Monitor An analysis from a University of Copenhagen graduate student suggests the online-phenomenon-turned-protest movement is more globally connected on the Web than previously thought.

By Fruzsina Eördögh, Correspondent
July 8, 2015
The actual size and reach of the shadowy hacktivist collective Anonymous has long been the fodder of online squabbles. It’s diminished by detractors and puffed up by ardent devotees.
So, a University of Copenhagen graduate student set out to determine the actual extent of Anonymous’ influence around the world. And, it turns out that Anonymous appears to have a wider scope and is more international than previously imagined.

Even academics who study Anonymous were surprised. “The Anonymous network is larger than many of us thought,” said Gabriella Coleman, an anthropology professor at McGill University and author of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous”.

Recommended: Revealing Anonymous and its web of contradictions

The analysis looks at Facebook pages connected with Anonymous to gain insight into its international prowess. Yevgeniy Golovchenko, a graduate student in the school’s sociology department, examined 2,770 Anonymous Facebook pages that generated a collective 22.2 million “likes.” This is just the “absolute minimal size” of the entire global Anonymous network, Mr. Golovchenko explained in an interview.

The point of the study was to “show the enormity and connectivity of the Anonymous movement at a global level,” he said. The end result revealed a network greater than he expected. It was even “a lot bigger than my Anon informants thought it would be,” said Golovchenko.

Professor Coleman, considered the leading expert on Anonymous, says the data reveals “a parallel world, or really worlds, that live on Facebook” instead of other social media sites such as Twitter and Internet Relay Chat services.

It is far more likely there are more Anonymous Facebook pages than the ones in Golovchenko’s study. Facebook pages belonging to Anonymous included in his analysis had to meet at least one of the following criteria: Pages directly identified as Anonymous (“we are Anonymous”), shared or organized “operations,” or used Anonymous symbols beyond the Guy Fawkes mask.

“The [Anonymous’ network is also dynamic,” he noted, since when “some pages die out, others are born.” The average Anonymous page was connected to 18 other Anonymous pages.

Golovchenko used Facebook “likes” as a way to establish connections, because a “like” acts as an “acknowledgement,” and shows the admin of one page is aware of another Anonymous contingent, in most cases in a different country. The “Offiziell Anonymous Page” had the most connections with 517 likes. It should be noted that “Offiziell Anonymous Page” hasn’t updated since December 2014.

Golovchenko was drawn to Anonymous’ Facebook pages given these pages are a public and easily accessible aspect of the relatively secretive hacktivist collective. These Facebook pages exist to either share information, or promote and help organize projects, and if they were harder to access, they’d alienate the average person.

Looking at all this Facebook data reveals several patterns … Keep Reading the Rest @ How Big Is Anonymous?


Denis SimonDENISE SIMON is the Senior Research/Intelligence Analyst for Foreign and Domestic Policy for Stand Up America US as well as the aide de camp for MAJOR GENERAL PAUL E. VALLELY, US ARMY (ret). Her weekly show delves into the very deep and murky waters of foreign and domestic issues. Each week her guests include high level Intel people, former Flag Officers, DEA, CIA, NSA, etc… You name it…

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