Anonymous, the hacktivist movement meant to simultaneously be the voice of everyone and no one, is getting a bit more institutionalized. How? They're starting a news organization: Your Anon News, a.k.a. YAN.
On Wednesday, YAN's indiegogo campaign came to a close having raised $54,668, well over the intended goal of $2,000. Claiming to be tired of Twitter and Tumblr, "they" (a select unknown group staking a claim to the mask) want to create a media site to support independent journalists instead of just aggregating the news (the money raised this week will go to expenses like web hosting fees).
We will engineer a new website which will allow us to collect breaking reports and blog postings from the best independent reporters online. We'll provide feeds for citizen journalists who livestream events as they are taking place, instead of the 10-second sound bites provided by the corporate media. Likewise, we know it would be beneficial to our followers to exist as a community beyond simple social media interactions. Many people have asked us to establish a site that accomplishes all of this and we've decided it's time we build it.
A noble mission statement. But it raises the question: How will Anonymous remain true to nature and serve as a news organization at the same time?
If, for example, Anonymous is going to devote time and resources to becoming a news organization, it will need to embrace some level of top-down decision-making about its coverage -- an approach that seems highly antithetical to the decentralized dogma that the movement preaches. What stories will it pay attention to? Whose voices will be heard?
For a sample of what we can expect, here's a snapshot from several hours ago of YAN's Twitter feed, which ironically focused on the very breaking news -- the West, Texas explosion, the frantic search for suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, House approval of a controversial cybersecurity bill -- that the mainstream media was tracking on Thursday (the feeds contains more links than you might expect to the "corporate media").
At one point today, another Twitter feed simply called "Anonymous" called YAN out for lacking evidence in its assertion that there were private military forces at the Boston Marathon.
@youranonnews I hope you have editors for your news site and that they kill tweets/stories like ths. Report the facts.— Anonymous (@AnonyOps) April 18, 2013
With no apparent use of independent media, little coverage of underreported stories, and speculation worthy of the New York Post, welcome to the brave new world of Anonymous news.