Anonymous: From the Lulz to Collective Action
Taken as a whole, Anonymous resists straightforward definition as it is a name currently called into being to coordinate a range of disconnected actions, from trolling to political protests. Originally a name used to coordinate Internet pranks, in the winter of 2008 some wings of Anonymous also became political, focusing on protesting the abuses of the Church of Scientology. By September 2010 another distinct political arm emerged as Operation Payback and did so to protest the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and a few months later this arm shifted its energies to Wikileaks, as did much of the world's attention. It was this manifestation of Anonymous that garnered substantial media coverage due the spectacular waves of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks they launched (against PayPal and Mastercard in support of Wikileaks). This difficulty follows from the fact that Anonymous is, like its name suggests, shrouded in some degree of deliberate mystery.
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