Whether you applaud their Robin Hood-style ideology of championing free speech or detest their reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions, it’s undeniable that Anonymous has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. From hacking politicians’ emails to taking down government websites, many of the group’s actions seem to straddle the line between good and evil. Maybe you can figure out which side of the fence they land on after reading these nine facts.
9. It’s Not an Organization
The website 4chan is an image message board where people can gather to discuss, gripe about, or confess pretty much anything they want. To facilitate the sharing of possibly incriminating matters, users on the /b/ discussion board generally used the screen name “anonymous” and from that, a subculture of similar-minded individuals with a strong sense of justice and desire the to stir things up eventually became what we know today as Anonymous. But the group has no leader—a fact symbolized by their headless man logo—and they follow no legitimate guidelines or code of conduct. Members just come and go as they please and contribute as much or as little as they like. According to journalist and former member Barret Brown, the most powerful people in Anonymous are those who can rally others to their cause and have proven their hacking skill.