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Remember Anonymous? It/they might be back, and it/they are angry with Elon Musk

Has the hacktivist group had enough of Musk's manipulative crypto-Tweets, or has someone just donned the mask to protest their crashed Bitcoin balance?

Entities using the name and iconography of hacktivist collective Anonymous have deemed Elon Musk's recent crypto-tweeting worthy of a re-emergence.

A new video that uses the group's trademark Guy Fawkes mask and a digitised voice opens by voicing appreciation for Musk's contributions to space exploration and electric car production, but then accuses him of being "nothing more than another narcissistic rich dude who is desperate for attention."

The grievances of the video's maker/s ranged from serious allegations to a few more ridiculous pronouncements: poor working conditions at Musk's companies; the practice of environmentally unfriendly lithium mining using child labour; what the narrator described as an alleged willingness to install dictators to facilitate business; Musk prematurely claiming himself "Emperor of Mars"; Musk's "not being smart enough" to found Tesla himself; the reliance of the firm on government subsidies; and excessive "shitposting" from the CEO himself.

The main complaint, however, seemed to be Musk's social media output regarding cryptocurrencies, which the maybe-Anons held to be hurting ordinary people. The video also alleged improper dealings. The narrator stated:

Tesla has also made more money holding Bitcoin for a few months than they did in years of selling cars. It is also more than likely that this Bitcoin was purchased with money from these government subsidies.

It is now widely believed that you have been forced to denounce your company's involvement with Bitcoin in order to keep that green government money flowing into Tesla's coffers.

The narrator went on to describe the environmental cost of crypto-mining as nuanced and asserted that Musk knew well what he was doing.

This is a conversation that you have been having for over a year and were intimately aware of but as soon as your main source of income was threatened you pretended to be clueless in an attempt to play both sides of the fence.

Then your move to create a Bitcoin miner council was rightly seen as an attempt to centralize the industry and take it under your control.

The video concluded that "hardworking people [had] their dreams liquidated over [Musk's] public temper tantrums."

The final assertion was in reference to Bitcoin's fall in value last Friday – a drop of 8 per cent – following Musk's tweet of a breakup meme accompanied by #Bitcoin and a broken heart emoji. The tweet came three weeks after Tesla stopped Bitcoin payments, citing the toll on the environment.

The decentralized nature of the hacktivist collective makes it difficult to tell if the video is legitimately a product of Anonymous as many of us know it. The video was shared by a group titled Anonymous (169k YouTube subscribers, joined 25 December 2015), but not by Anonymous Official (3.52 million YouTube subscribers, joined 25 January 2012), nor by @YourAnonNews (6.7 million Twitter followers, joined April 2011).

@YourAnonNews has even explicitly denied involvement:

Once listed in Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential "people", members of Anonymous were able to mobilise members into staging big DDoS attacks as well as other efforts in order to right what they saw as the world's wrongs. The most notable examples include exposing the coverup by a Steubenville high school of the gang rape of a student by members of the football team as well as its operations against the Church of Scientology cult. Many Anonymous members famously got to know each other IRL when they picketed Scientology branches during Project Chanology at the beginning of the movement in 2008.

In recent years, however, the movement has been widely silent. According to sources who spoke to Vice, it was due to infighting and a lack of alignment within the not-an-organisation.

Although the video purports to show that Anonymous has re-emerged and trained its sights on Elon Musk, it does not reveal specific threats or details of any plan. This is not out of character for the collective, however.

Elon Musk has not publicly responded to the video. ®


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