While the blogoshere is cyberventilating once again about the imminent demise of Facebook (anybody remember the "We're Quitting Facebook Day" scheduled for May 31, 2010?), the ghost of Guy Fawkes has been evoked to stir the conspiracy pot. Five hundred years to the day, the Hacker activist group known as Anonymous is claiming they will coincide their destruction of Facebook with Fawkes attempt to blow up the House of Parliament on November 5, 1605.
Can Facebook's Silicon Valley HDQ office withstand a blast of gunpowder (Fawkes weapon of choice) or is this simply a metaphor for potential DDoS attacks on the social network's monolithic online presence? The correlation between English Catholics trying to protect their freedom of religion versus today's netizens preserving their rights to privacy seems a little strained at best. However the analogy of pairing Mark Zuckerberg with King James I might not be off the mark since both men have displayed intolerance toward those that don't obey their rules.
Anonymous has gained notoriety for meddling with the American government, the Pentagon, Wikileaks and various financial institutions. This week they have announced they will focus on bringing down the popular social networking site in the name of all those who hold privacy near and dear to the hearts. Alluding to their veiled connection to the spirit of Fawkes, the video concludes with: "This is our world now. We exist without nationality, without religious bias…"
Anonymous, whose members don Guy Fawkes hats and masks as seen in the film "V for Vendetta" have pledged to close down the California-based company with a mission moniker simply called: "Operation Facebook." The group proclaimed that November 5 'will go down in history', and stated: 'One day you will look back on this and realize what we have done here is right, (and) you will thank the rulers of the Internet, we are not harming you but saving you."
"The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent," they added.
In the graphic novel satire, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," the fictional tale tells the story about Z-Man (aka Mark Zuckerberg), the self-proclaimed leader of a new social order now approaching a billion members. It talks about how an idea incubated in a Harvard dorm room and how a Pied Piper of sorts came to label his followers "dumb f"cks" because of their blind faith and their ability to be easily led.
Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
So, is Zuckerberg today's King James I?- living in an ivory tower removed from the rabble who are discontent with the mishandling of their rights? Or is Anonymous, the ones out of touch - caught up with their own press and desire to overthrow the current status quo? Weigh in readers, and let us know if you would like to see a twenty-first century version of the "Gun Powder Plot?"
BTW, things didn't go exactly as planned in 1605. Guy Fawkes, who was found in the cellar of the Parliament with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th - was caught, tortured and executed.