What is Anonymous? Inside the group plotting to attack Islamic State/ISIS
Anonymous and 4chan – Where it all started
The group, if it can be really described as such, was spawned on imageboard 4chan, one of the grubbier yet, strangely, most creative corners of the internet – while it’s home to gore and porn, it’s also where Lolcats and Rickrolling originated. Most posters to the board also use the default “anonymous” username, from whence Anonymous draws its name.
Through 4chan, groups of anonymous members would organise “raids”, where they would descend on other messageboards or proto-social media networks and sabotage or troll them (in the original sense) – or a bit of both – or make prank phone calls.
Pretty much all activities were carried out “for the lulz” – i.e. for entertainment, with the ensuing hijinks documented in Encyclopaedia Dramatica, which is still updated today (we strongly advise against visiting – it’s one of the most offensive sites on the net).
That’s not to say everything, or even most things, were good-natured fun though – it was sometimes quite the opposite.
Because none of us are as cruel as all of us
The group adopted the slogan “because none of us are as cruel as all of us” to sum up the bravado mass anonymity brings, giving the participants the necessary cover and coersion to behave in ways they wouldn’t have done otherwise.
This included quite nasty pranks, such as sending dozens of pizzas to people’s houses – with YouTuber Jessie Slaughter being a notable victim – or deliberately targeting the bereaved to cause them further grief, purely for amusement (griefing).