Anonymous Account Distances Itself From #OpISIS

It is always a challenge to report on Anonymous, the online collective that engages in a form of activism that generally involves hacking targets and exposing wrongdoing. Because it lacks a central authority and members often operates independently, it can be difficult to verify information about the collective. A new statement from AnonPress, a division of the group that reports on global operations, according to its Twitter account, calls into question recent reporting on the collective's activities.

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ATTN: and many other media organizations have written about a video of a person wearing the collective's iconic Guy Fawkes mask, who claims to be a member of Anonymous. In that video, the masked person announces plans to launch the "biggest operation ever" against ISIS in retaliation for the attacks in Paris, which left more than 120 people dead.

Well, according to AnonPress, that person might not have been a representative of Anonymous. Indeed, there is "no centralized mouthpiece for Anonymous," the statement reads, and media coverage of the collective's actions, including its operations against ISIS, is often misinformed.

"We, @Anonpress, neither created, shared nor ascribed to the video that was made," the statement reads. "That said, we do support #OpISIS but it isn’t our operation and is one that we feel runs the risk of showboating more than helping. The media didn't help in that respect, and it shouldn't be a criticism leveled at the Anons working to achieve good things."

So what is Anonymous' actual plan for ISIS?

As far as #OpISIS (Operation ISIS) is concerned, AnonPress explains that the collective is supportive of efforts to take down ISIS-affiliated social media accounts, but it is primarily focused on three areas: recruitment, location, and information.

"We target areas of influence, particularly toward the young and impressionable, and attempt to shut them down at the source," AnonPress writes. "This is to stop the glamorization of attacks and ISIS' actions to young people around the world."

Because members of the terrorist group known as ISIS are not "the most technologically aware," Anonymous has been able to use data found in photographs and Tweets from ISIS to determine their location. Then if it seems actionable, they pass that information down to "the relevant authorities," though AnonPress does not specify who those authorities are.

The collective is also involved in providing information on how ISIS operates, plans their attacks, and "the nature of them and their exit-strategies."

A few days after the unverified Anonymous member announced the operation against ISIS on YouTube, a series of hacking guides appeared online, and they appeared to offer advice on how individuals could help infiltrate and expose social media accounts affiliated with the terrorist group.

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"So that's where we come in, and we won’t show off numbers and stats, details and the like when we do act," AnonPress wrote. "We’d rather give the information to those who find it useful."

The statement concludes:

"Do we think we can 'crush ISIS'? No, and I don’t know how we could. I don't know what the ultimate solution is to power vacuums and their fulfillment in the Middle East. I think we can make a difference, I think even the smallest Anon out there reporting twitter accounts of suspected members can help. We're not going to post videos making grand claims, we’re not going to sit there and tell people to ‘back off’ while we handle it. That is naive, and a childish way to view problems of the world."