One of Anonymous’ most active Twitter handles, YourAnonNews, was temporarily suspended by Twitter today, sending the Twittersphere into an uproar.
Anonymous is a loose group of “hacktivists,” or cyber vigilantes who break into computer systems to make a political statement, as opposed to hacking for financial profit. A number of its members communicate through Twitter, boasting about their latest “operations” and successful hacks. Oftentimes they post links to Pastebin where personal information is listed about their targets.
A Twitter spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email, “We don’t comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.”
The Twitter account has since been restored. YourAnonNews tweeted, “Ohai,” and “BREAKING: We’re back motherfuckers.” It claims a picture was behind its suspension. The picture likely contained personal information about individuals associated with the Westboro Baptist Church — an organization Anonymous is fighting due to its controversial protests of Sandy Hook vigils. YourAnonNews tweeted out a picture of the email it received from Twitter stating:
“Your account has been suspended for posting an individual’s private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents.”
Twitter’s terms of service state that it can shut down an account if it “doxes” people, or steals and publishes social security numbers, email addresses and passwords, home addresses, phone numbers, and any other type of personal information.
Gawker pulled out this section of Twitter’s terms of service: “You may not publish or post other people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission.”
A number of Twitter users are angry over the YourAnonNews account suspension, calling it censorship.