Everyone has seen the V for Vendetta mask. What came from a movie loosely inspired by the 17th Century Gunpowder Plot has now become a symbol for the nameless masses. Anonymous is a loosely connected group of activists who have participated in various online activities, meetings, and DDoS attacks to organizations they oppose. Anonymous members can also be seen protesting at many events and they are easy to spot wearing the V for Vendetta masks.
In 2003 anonymous appeared on 4chan, an image board. The group has very anarchic principals. While they don’t have a defined philosophy their principal is a loosely centralized command that focuses more on ideas rather than a specific agenda. Because they don’t have a leadership they’re hard for law enforcement to prosecute. Membership is open to anyone willing to share collective ideas. The group opposes censureship and anything that impinges on freedoms.
The main rule for Anonymous members is not telling their or any other members identity. The second rule is not to attack the media. There are many smaller groups within the main group which hold different beliefs. The biggest rule that sets them apart is those members who prefer to use illegal methods like DDoS attacks.
Many people feel trapped and downtrodden by the rulers of the world today. Whether that’s business, government, or simply being constricted by society’s rules. Part of what makes anonymous so interesting is that they’re unpredictable. The idea that each group or individual is only responsible for their own actions is certainly appealing. While small groups performing illegal activities might be seen as vigilante heroes, the main membership is simply people who share similar ideas and thoughts.
There’s no denying that anonymous has a cult following. They appeal to the masses because they are the masses. There’s a sense of belonging and being able to empathize with strangers who simply share your ideas.
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