The Conversation

Anonymous: We're Not Known for Being 'Responsible'

Anonymous released the name of the person they claimed shot Michael Brown. They got it wrong but that doesn't seem to bother the group very much. In fact they are taking credit for the police decision to release the real name of the officer today.

The person whose name Anonymous released Thursday wasn't a police officer, just a dispatcher. One member of Anonymous spoke to Mother Jones saying, "We are not exactly known for being 'responsible,' nor for worrying overly much about the safety of cops." In fact, the group has since suggested it hoped threats against an unrelated individual they publicly named as the shooter would force the police's hand.

Friday morning the group took credit for the decision by the Ferguson PD to release the name of the police officer. "Well, our plan worked. They are held responsible for the safety of Bryan's life. So they have to release the name," the group tweeted, referring to the individual whose name they (wrongly) released Thursday. A second tweet added, "It's either they release the name or have Bryan and his family suffer more potential threats."

This was not the only time Anonymous threatened to release personal information to pressure police. After tweeting a photo of St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar's house and his home address the group threatened to publish personal information about his daughter. Like the dispatcher whose name the group released on Thursday, the daughter whose information they threatened to release Tuesday has nothing to do with the case. The group relented after a strong negative reaction to these threats on Twitter.

In addition to Anonymous' irresponsibility, you can add pompous grandiosity. Twitter decided the release of bogus information was a violation of their terms of service and took down the Anonymous account which had released the information on Chief Belmar. On a back up account, the group declared that removing the account was censorship and an "act of war." In a sign that at least some are weary of the group's irresponsible behavior one person replied, "what are you going to do? hack twitter and release the name of someone who doesnt even work there?"


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